Dan Boberg is President of Tallwave, a digital business accelerator.
AdExchanger.com: Where do you see Tallwave fitting in the venture capital, angel and seed investing world? Is it competitive to these silos? Is it similar to Betaworks, for example?
DB: Tallwave is a digital business accelerator that combines traditional consulting practices and start-up incubation services with a focus on cutting edge digital marketing strategy and delivery. We support a portfolio of emerging companies and also provide digital consulting and media services. On the portfolio side we focus on marketing technology and media companies. Our consulting practice has a broader scope which includes ecommerce, web applications companies and more. We plan on raising our first venture fund in 2011. Tallwave is already working with a set of portfolio companies and our fee-based consulting practice is exceeding goals in this first year of operation.
In forming Tallwave, we brought together partners with strong line level as well as executive experience from Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and iCrossing. Our partners bring diverse backgrounds including channel sales, digital advertising, product design, product marketing, and finance. We have a CFO with experience as the CFO of two public companies which is another strength in helping develop early stage companies. We support these companies through capital formation, business planning and strategy, product design, financial planning, marketing strategy, marketing delivery and shared services / outsourcing.
We also have a Marketing Services arm (Tallwave Media) that creates and executes marketing plans for our clients, with a focus on performance marketing. Tallwave Media provides clients with a team of professionals highly experienced in digital strategy development and program management. Our team has previously executed plans for Nike, Fujitsu, Cars.com, Coca-Cola, FedEx, O’Reilly Auto Parts, the BBC and others. With Tallwave Media, we are providing extensive, large company expertise to our new client base of emerging companies as well as more established companies.
So we’re more active in strategic planning and digital marketing with portfolio companies than most VC’s and our focus areas are different from a Betaworks. We don’t see ourselves as competitors with any of these channels as we frequently partner with VC’s as well as angel investors to deliver client growth.
What does Tallwave look for, in terms of new businesses, ideas to support via its acceleration and incubation model?
As a team, we have broad experience across nearly all types of digital marketing and the portfolio companies we are focusing on tend to be in the digital marketing and media space. From a portfolio perspective, we’re not dissimilar from other venture firms in that we look for great entrepreneurs with a solid track record, a strong business concept and an excellent business niche with strong growth potential.
How does Tallwave scale? Is it about more funding, more people? If more people, what skill sets will your company be looking for?
We’ve been very pleased with the response to our business strategy in our first year of operation. As a result, we are scaling to meet demand in our various sectors: business planning, marketing services and portfolio company development. In 2011 we are also planning to raise a venture fund to further support and develop emerging companies. We will staff up according to client and operational needs. This could include marketing, finance and operations staff.
Given your experience at Overture and Yahoo! and your CEO's, what are some of the key learnings you hope to leverage with Tallwave?
I came from GoTo.com, Overture and Yahoo!, working my way up the ladder and focusing heavily on building the PPC business that ultimately has made billions for Yahoo! and Google (when Google adopted the Overture model). I also had the opportunity to work with and lead parts of the Right Media business after its acquisition by Yahoo! It’s been a tremendous ride but more importantly, the success of Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Overture, Right Media and others have opened up an entire ecosystem of new marketing opportunities for all of us engaged in the growth of ecommerce and digital marketing.
Jeff Pruitt is a seasoned executive who knows how to successfully develop and scale enterprises, experience he gained while President at iCrossing. That skill set is essential to the success of Tallwave and the companies that we partner with. Jeff is also one of the pre-eminent thought leaders in digital marketing and his innovative vision is a great asset in looking at new business opportunities.
The potential for emerging company success is great with the right strategy, planning and execution. Tallwave looks forward to sharing its expertise and to supporting and enabling a new wave of growth in marketing and media technology.
By John Ebbert