The 3 Secrets for Technology Start-Up Success
For Immediate Use
THE 3 SECRETS FOR TECHNOLOGY START-UP SUCCESS - how to get to 1 million consumers a month
Sydney, Wednesday, October 23, 2013:
It took pioneering e-commerce entrepreneur Justin Viles several hard years slog to get market traction for his digital advertising start-up, ROKT, rokt.com. But in 2012 when Ticketek, and then eBay joined the fledging Australian company as partners, the former Google Australia executive knew he was onto something.
‘Early testing of the ROKT platform had looked positive but when we launched our first major partners, and then started getting such positive feedback from a revenue perspective, and more importantly from an advertisers perspective based on the quality audience we were able to connect them with, that cemented the fact,’ said Viles.
“We knew then we had created a product which can automate on the demand side from an advertising perspective, but more importantly can upscale from an inventory standpoint. We also knew if we could get the ROKT platform to work on one, or two major e-commerce partners, the ability to do that across hundreds, if not thousands of e-commerce partners globally, was very real.’ 42-year-old Viles started ROKT in 2010 bringing on Ben Voltz shortly afterwards. Viles, an original team member of Google Australia, spearheaded the growth of Google AdWords platform across Australia and New Zealand. Voltz left his position as Sales Director with Adconion media group to co-found ROKT, where he is now Group Sales Director.
ROKT patented technology effectively creates and monetises digital audiences. It connects advertisers, through partners’ websites, to new digital online and mobile consumers in the moments of consumers’ highest levels of online engagement.
Partners include eBay, Australia Post, Tigerair, Webjet, Ticketek, OZSALE, GrabOne NZ, Moshtix, Dymocks, Greyhound Australia and Zuji. Advertisers include David Jones, National Australia Bank, Nissan, Disney, Harvey Norman, Hooroo, Spotify and Foxtel. Business is growing 20-25% month on month compound, and more than one million users engage across the ROKT partner network every month. ROKT fills a gap in the market, says Viles, as e-commerce players increasingly look to identify new audiences, and drive ancillary revenue.
‘I think the light-bulb moment for us came when we started looking at when consumers are highly engaged,’ said Viles, now Director of Innovation at ROKT.
‘When you are purchasing something online, and you are doing a transaction, you are highly engaged and receptive to a wide range of messages. From a business point of view, we realised if we could turn that behavior into a technological platform we could integrate all the leading online brands into this traffic. ROKT opens up inventory channels from a digital perspective that have never been available. We are enabling partners and advertisers brands to connect with consumers they weren’t previously able to reach across the digital universe.’ Viles says he took three core lessons from his seven years at Google when he and Voltz started ROKT.
‘1. Can the product scale, 2. Is the product automated and when it comes to aggressively taking it to market, 3. make sure you have the right talent in place to break down the office walls to do that.’ Bruce Buchanan, former Group CEO of international low-fare carrier Jetstar, joined ROKT in December 2012, as CEO. Since his arrival, the ROKT platform has enjoyed a six-fold increase in volumes, and the company recently moved into the New Zealand and Singapore markets.
‘Bringing Bruce on board 12 months ago was a catalyst in the growth of ROKT,’ says Viles. ‘Not only has he given us a clearer vision of what the product’s roadmap should look like, it is essential for a start up like ROKT to get someone of the calibre of Bruce to take us global.’ Viles says further global expansion is planned for 2014, especially in markets with high up take of smart phones where the ROKT mobile platform is projected to make significant inroads.
Viles, says for him, ‘success will look like ROKT becoming a leader in our category in all major digital advertising markets globally’.
‘There are so many great start-ups, that for whatever reason aren’t able to get traction in market, so I think ROKT has been helped by a little luck in respect to timings, and getting some good deals across the line. Our focus now is on scaling the product and the business quickly so we can sit on the world stage and say ‘hey we built something quite amazing here’.’