Guest Blog from Episode 1 Ventures
In the wake of some exciting new product innovation where Adludio are redefining Mobile advertising for the modern consumer, I thought I’d catch up with the CEO Paul Coggins and find out what he’s thinking…
What’s your name and where do you come from?
Paul Coggins, Adludio
Give us a quick overview of your company and what it does.
We are automating and scaling the creative process for mobile advertising. By merging human creativity with our tech, and a creative data stream from thousands of campaign touchpoints, we are able to deliver beautiful ads for our clients. These enhanced ad units deliver excellent ROI, while hopefully delighting (instead of annoying) consumers.
What’s the next big idea that nobody is thinking about yet? Why is this so important?
I don’t think there is one big idea that nobody is thinking about, or at least no one knows about it, because no one is thinking about it. However, of the big ideas currently being explored (ignoring the multiple opportunities within advertising), I think vertical farming has to be the biggest yet to take off. The simple fact is the world’s population cannot be sustained by the current landmass if the world is to contain global warming. The only solution has to be to cut meat production and start growing more vegetables vertically. Upwards :).
Looking back to the day you founded the company, what is the one thing you wish you had known before starting off?
I have had very little formal financial or legal training despite over 20 years of running businesses, probably not too dissimilar to a lot of founders. I have always felt this is a slight hindrance to understanding the intricacies of raising funds, which let’s be honest takes you out of running the business for many months. So I guess the one thing I wish I had known is slightly broad and covers a general better understanding of venture capital, venture debt and the other mechanisms necessary for fueling a fast-growing business
How do you define success for you / your company?
I think that continually changes with time. So when we launched it was probably having a brilliant product that people wanted. Once that product-market fit is established, there is more focus on revenue growth, and that starts to shift towards profitability.
At the same time, we want a happy team, that is proud of what they are building, and focused on the vision. If the vision is executed against, that ultimately is a success for me and the company; they are interlinked.
What behaviour or personality trait do you most attribute to your ability to achieve what you have achieved so far?
Perseverance. It’s a cliché, but all businesses have constant ups and downs. While success is never guaranteed, if you don’t have an almost illogical belief that you will reach and surpass your goals, you will probably fail.
What’s your top idea to improve diversity in the workplace?
We don’t have any solutions here, but we do go out of our way to try and have as diverse a workplace as possible. The reality is though, that our core tech team is not as diverse as I would like i.e, it’s male. Overall our company is nearly 60/ 40 male female with a fantastic mix of cultures and people at all levels of the business, but diversity in development has been hard, and I have no doubt that is a universal problem for tech companies. Diversity in the workplace, I would suggest, probably needs to start with diversity in education. This is something we as a community of startups could address with various programs in schools.
What is the best advice you have ever been given and by whom?
Be generous with your time, to everyone, at every level in any company (very first boss at Viz comic in the mid-1990’s). You always want people to have a positive experience, even if it ultimately does not work out.
What was the most useful resource (networks/books/websites/blogs) you used when starting out?
I was fortunate in that I already had a large network with which to spin ideas off and start to generate some business. Any interns that start with us now, I always encourage to start building their network as soon as possible, that usually means Linkedin.
What is the single most important thing you’ve done to increase the value of your business?
Very quickly into the business, we decided to embrace programmatic advertising. This meant that we instantly had access to thousands of publishers, who were able to distribute our ad units throughout the world. This allowed us to scale the business a lot quicker geographically than would otherwise be the case, meaning we could open offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Los Angeles, New York, and start to generate revenues reasonably quickly.
What has been the hardest decision you’ve had to make in your entrepreneurial journey?
I’d say hiring. Getting the right people on board is the most important single task any business leader has to do. The reality is, as a business gets bigger the CEO / and co-founders need to step back from some of the day-to-day running. If you do not have brilliant people to make that process easy, then trouble beckons, so hiring is always the most difficult decision to make.
What will be the biggest change to how we lead our lives in 15 years? And what won’t have changed?
The biggest single change in my lifetime has been how people have stopped smoking. In 15 years time, I suspect it will be a similar change in lifestyle such as the end of single-use plastics. One thing that won’t change will be how people have their phones glued to their hands, hopefully engaging with brilliant creative ads at the same time.
Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I’ve invested a small amount of money in AFC Wimbledon so hope to have my name above a urinal in the new stadium. Look out for it!
If you could be offline for 3 days -where would you go and what would you do?
I love table tennis. Is there a three-day table tennis competition I could attend?