Dave Gross is CEO of Connexity, an online advertising network.
AdExchanger.com: What did you learn at Fastclick (sold to Valueclick in 2005) that you're bringing with you to Connexity?
DG: How to simultaneously improve yield for both advertising and publishing clients through increased ad relevance. The market has matured, somewhat, and there are a lot of new tools available, but it has a long way to go. We ran the most efficient network operation with the highest revenue and profit per employee. Connexity will do even better.
What problem is Connexity solving?
The ongoing problem of improving relevance to make the marketplace more efficient. We also believe we can reduce intermediation which also makes the marketplace more efficient.
In terms of classifying your business in a "nutshell," are you comfortable with ad network, data management platform, performance marketing agency, etc....?
The best bucket to put us in is ad network. We are full-featured, balanced for both advertisers and publishers, using data - not selling it. We also have new stateless ad serving technology that enables our more personalized ad delivery.
What would you say will be your company's key points of differentiation?
Being truly audience-centric from day one. The platform is purpose built to take advantage of both social graph and recommendation engine techniques. We consider our entire network of publisher and advertiser audiences to be one implicit social network. Connexity is also very extensible off of the desktop into mobile web, applications, and even email optimization and dynamic search results. We intend to take advantage of our "Audience Mashup" in as many channels as we can get traction.
How will pricing work for Connexity's offering?
We will largely be buying CPM and selling CPA, but with a lot of flexibility.
Looking at Facebook, do you see them as the big winner in social advertising? How will Connexity leverage Facebook?
Right now Facebook's eCPM is sitting at about a quarter of the average across all online display media. As reported and estimated (11/11/10 - The Wall Street Journal), they have about 25% of all impressions, but only about 6% of the revenue. The big winners in social advertising will be the companies that can extract demonstrated relevance from the interconnectedness of people online -all people online, not just those visiting one website. Activities like "incentivized likes" do not help the explicit social networks gain credibility as truly relevant for advertising.
Connexity has no plans to directly leverage Facebook. Connexity is not a social network "overlay". We will touch the same people Facebook touches on the larger implicit social network of the Internet as a whole.
Now that Connexity has picked up some funding with your own Persistence Partners, what are "next steps" for the company?
We are closing out additional funding from Fastclick insiders and other interested parties. We continue to build and test, build and test. We are growing the team for service launch in 2011.
As an entrepreneur, what's the hardest part of starting up a new business from your point-of-view?
The hardest part to Connexity was deciding what to focus on. Interactive advertising is still the wild west. I have been looking at mobile and local for years, but until Connexity, we did not have an architecture and model with the strength, flexibility and extensibility to hit another homerun.
A year from now, what milestones would you like to see Connexity accomplish?
Positive cash flow with 100M uniques in the database.