Back In The Start-Up World

It's been almost a year and a half since TACODA was sold to AOL, and just over a year since I left my role as executive vice president of Global Ad Strategy at AOL. It's been a wonderful year -- lots of travel, lots of time with my family, and lots of just plain relaxing after working on two start-ups back to back for the previous 14 years. Well, as you might expect, after having some time on my hands to think and ponder, I started working on a new business idea. It's now time to jump back into the start-up game and make it official...

This morning I'm announcing the launch of Simulmedia, a New York City-based start-up that will help television companies build audiences for their programs by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of their on-air program promotions. Simulmedia is developing data models and predictive technologies to aid cable operators, cable networks and broadcast networks in delivering the right promotions to the right viewers at the right time.



Yes, it's true that my new start-up is focused on television, not the Internet or online, where I have spent the past 17 years of my career. I have always been a big believer in the power of television as a media platform, and have been waiting a long time for the right opportunity to launch a business in the industry. Fortunately, I was able to recruit a great team and some great investors that felt the same way, so we decided to jump in and see what we can make happen.

Yes, it's true that we're starting the company in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. While it's certainly a very difficult business climate, I believe there are some real advantages to running a start-up right now. One, you can attract great talent. Two, incumbents that might compete with you tend to retreat back to focus on their core operations. And three, when you have a company that's still in the "pre-revenue" stage, it doesn't really matter much that revenue is hard to come by

No, it's not true that because I'll be focused on television  I won't keep writing my weekly Online Spin. It's clear that the television industry is starting to develop some Internet-like capabilities, as evidenced by yesterday's story in The New York Times about addressable advertising trials by Cablevision and Visible World. It's also clear the online industry will start developing more television-like capabilities, such as the "TV Everywhere" strategy discussed by Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes in his Ad Age interview earlier this week. More and more, I believe, we'll see parallels developing between online and television.

One fun thing about starting new companies periodically -- my first was in early 1995, my second in early 2001 -- is that you get to start fresh with a new set of communication tools and technologies. In 1995 it was Eudora and Internet email. In 2001 it was all about Outlook email and Today, it's all about Google's e-mail and applications and Twitter -- you can follow me at @davemorgannyc. It's amazing how much easier, cheaper, and more functional the tools have become over the years. What do you think?

8 comments about "Back In The Start-Up World".
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  1. Kathy Sharpe from Resonate Networks, March 5, 2009 at 1:47 p.m.

    Congrats Dave,
    You'll probably build the accountability of the Internet into TV before we get it straightened out online. If anyone can do it, it is you. Kathy

  2. Warren Lee from WHL Consulting, March 5, 2009 at 2:01 p.m.

    Good luck Dave. Now how are you going to merge your newest venture with Canoe!?! Addressability meets accountability. Oh and throw in just a pinch of Behavioral Targeting. Perfect. This one will be fun to follow.

  3. Nikos Iatropoulos, March 5, 2009 at 5:21 p.m.

    Dave, I wish you best of luck with Simulmedia! The TV advertising needs some of the accountability and targeting tools of the internet and it sounds like a very interesting opportunity - and a pretty big market! Glad to hear you'll be continuing the column and I look forward to hearing more about your progress with Simulmedia! Best, Nikos.

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, March 5, 2009 at 6:25 p.m.

    It's a brave new world out there and you are THE perfect person to lead it. (If my tech skills were only up to below par....)

  5. Scott Cohen from Red Tie Media, March 6, 2009 at 9:22 a.m.

    Rock & Roll! So many have said this i a great time to start a business. Good luck and God speed.

  6. Max Kalehoff from MAK, March 6, 2009 at 10:38 a.m.

    Congrats Dave! Look forward to hearing more.

  7. Ivan Cevallos from Ethos Group Inc., March 6, 2009 at 12:57 p.m.

    Welcome back to start up world. Is your new venture like working with Adlink? About technology, I would take it even further: about 20 years ago, I did a lot of international business just with the phone, then the fax reduced a lot of those pricey long distance calls, then email and e-fax and know it is all about applications and social. Costs have been dramatically reduced. My weekly phone bill of 20 years ago covers my yearly bill for everything online

  8. Jim Dugan from PipPops LLC, March 7, 2009 at 9:01 p.m.

    I think it's amazing, too. Instant information is what we all want. Whether we get it on a device that we carry or wear or that we sit in front of, it's the instant intelligence that we will all finally expect.

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