It takes a passionate and driven individual to be an entrepreneur, but what happens after the company is launched? How does an entrepreneur go from an idea to building a long-term successful company? As part of our new Scaling Q&A Series, we dive into growth strategies and successes from our rising stars. Our inaugural post is with Tod Sacerdoti, CEO and Founder of BrightRoll.
Describe BrightRoll in one sentence?
TS: BrightRoll is the largest independent video ad platform – think TV ads online.
What inspired you to start the company?
TS: I did a lot of work with YouTube with my prior company and discovered that there was a fundamental shift in consumer behavior underway. More people were watching video content, but content providers were having trouble monetizing these videos. But that was just the start, it wasn’t just about monetizing existing traffic, we found that there was a whole new economy on digital entertainment.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned through the process?
TS: People underestimate the challenges of scaling an organization – it is often thought about in siloed instances – scaling revenue, scaling sales, scaling engineering, etc. But it needs to be viewed holistically, how can you balance those levers for overall growth. Scaling an organization requires expertise and if you don’t have it, hire someone who does.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs looking to start a company?
TS: You have to be willing to run the marathon. It’s six years later, and today is harder than the day we started. You have to be 100% committed to long-term success.
What is the best advice you ever received as you were getting started?
TS: One of the greatest assets in being a private company is the ability to be totally transparent. We have created a culture built on transparency. The staff understands what is going on, where we are heading and is committed to helping us reach our goals. They are invested, and as a result, we have had very little turn over. There is intangible value in creating a culture around transparency.
BrightRoll has experienced a tremendous amount of growth? What’s your philosophy?
TS: Two things 1) hire people that already have the specific expertise that you require and 2) be willing to make the tough calls, you need to be brutally honest in how you are doing and make a swift change if things aren’t working.
Who inspires you?
TS: Product CEO’s who are willing to take the risk and bet on the long-term like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. CEO’s focused on changing the status quo and delivering a long-term solution.
What business book would you recommend?
TS: “The Billionaire Who Wasn’t” by Connor O’Clery, not just as a business book but also on being charitable.
Speaking of charities, we caught the video of you rappelling down the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Francisco for the Special Olympics? Just an average Wednesday?
TS: (Laughs) Well I do like to try new activities but that was new for me. At BrightRoll, we value the importance of giving back to the community and it is important to integrate that into the corporate culture. I think the staff got a kick out of watching Pravin and I work our way down that building. For now, I think I will stick to the play structure at the park with my daughter.
BrightRoll is the world’s largest and fastest-growing video advertising network. The company has access to billions of monthly digital video impressions across the globe through its network and exchange (BRX). The company enables advertisers to execute smart digital video advertising across the web and mobile landscape. Proprietary buying technology, combined with full site disclosure and flexible targeting provides BrightRoll network and exchange customers with the reach, frequency and scalability needed to achieve campaign goals. The company provides publishers with access to the industry’s largest video marketplace to maximize monetization of their inventory. BrightRoll is a privately held, venture-backed company headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information visit brightroll.com or brx.com
Guest post by Rob Theis.