Do not get discouraged by “no” and nay-sayers

Founders Talk with Kristina Prokop, Co-Founder and EVP Global Platforms of Eyeota

Founders Talk with Kristina Prokop, Co-Founder and EVP Global Platforms of Eyeota:

How did you get the idea of founding Eyeota?

There is a lot of digital clutter and it can be challenging for brands to reach their consumers online. Our audience data helps advertisers to understand their target audiences in a new way — as real human beings — so they can serve them with relevant ads. Consumers are more likely to respond to an ad that meets their needs. No one is going to care about a holiday offer to Hawaii if you have just returned from one.

Where did you meet as a founders team? What’s your founder’s story?

I met my other co-founders Kevin Tan and Trent Lloyd while we were working at online advertising platform Adify, which was purchased by media conglomerate Cox.

While working at Cox after the acquisition, we saw a surge in programmatic advertising and audience-based targeting around the world. But there was a massive lack in the market for high quality audience data with scale and reach. A lot of companies were based in the United States, and merely applied the same data collection strategies to markets outside the US without understanding the needs of each market.

Eyeota was born in 2010. Chris joined us as CTO in 2011 to provide his vision for Eyeota’s innovative programming, tools and infrastructure. Today, we are the global leader for local audience data, operating in Asia-Pacific, Australia, Europe and the Americas.

What did you do before?

I led business development for Adify across major European publishers and was instrumental in helping them to build and launch their vertical ad network businesses. As the team grew, I moved into the role of Vice-President, International Account Management and Operations.

I was also Country Manager for the British paid-search and search technology provider Mirago, and was responsible for launching in German-speaking markets and building local teams.

Prior to Mirago, I held a senior marketing role at Ebay Germany and originally relocated to Europe from California as part of the launch team for Flycast before becoming part of Engage Europe.

How do you collaborate with Project A?

Project A is an investor in Eyeota, providing Eyeota with relevant advice and a business network to fuel our growth. Dr. Florian Heinemann is on our advisory board.

What do you like most on your daily business?

I enjoy working with colleagues and clients from around the world. We run a global company with offices in Berlin, London, Melbourne, New York, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. I also like the fast pace of working in a startup — we tend to do things more nimbly and are more effective with executing change than corporate organizations.

What are the biggest challenges in the initial stage of founding a business?

With a small team supporting the business across the globe, this meant working odd hours. We also had to adjust our pitch and tailor our audience data solutions to different countries depending on the maturity of the market. Finding the right people was also a challenge — at Eyeota, we are all about diversity and hiring bright, switched-on professionals who are passionate about what they do.

Do you have tips for entrepreneurs and people interested in entrepreneurship or in founding a company?

  1. Be honest with yourself when evaluating what is working and what is not. There should not be any pride involved. If a decision turns out to have been the wrong one, change it as fast as possible.
  2. Just keep working… do not get discouraged by “no” and nay-sayers. Just keep going if you know you are on the right path.
  3. Be patient with hiring. Never hire someone just to fill a spot.