It’s been 8 months since we met you pitching at Web Summit, how did it go for you then, and subsequently?
Web Summit was a great experience overall. We were truly honored to be a part of it, as a START company. We did not know what to expect but we went for it and the way it was shaped from a macro level was great. They really did a good job on how start ups are featured, located and valued as equals by those attending the conference. One thing that stood out as difficult was the micro parts of the Summit. There were a lot of unknowns. The hotel arrangements were a mystery. The events too were mysterious in their timing and how they were segregated. It was tough to find any of the VC’s unless you watched them on stage. The Venture meetings were not held up by the VC’s for us and that was disappointing. Small elements made it hard for us to plan, coordinate of or make proper use of our time. That being said, the time we used was great. We just discovered other things after the fact. Perhaps there was intent there but the transparency was tough.
Since Web Summit we have raised some more Seed Capital. Our space of Big Data and SaaS has grown exponentially. There are new companies inching towards our Intellectual Property by using Artificial Intelligence and Machined Learning to process some of the same Big Data we focus on. We still have a unique position though and that feels good. It also has led to some people recognizing with greater ease what we do and how we finish the cycle of useful purpose inside Big Data, and Comments on Content.
Graffiti follows content, whether it is an article, video, image or music, over multiple locations and… http://t.co/dUUaKETIFk
— 451 Degrees (@451Degrees) October 15, 2014
Overall how was 2014 for 451, what went well, how is Graffiti developing?
2014 was a great year for us. So many elements came forward. We were granted our first taste of institutional funding from Andreessen Horowitz and Data Elite Ventures. This required us to relocate our Corporate Headquarters to San Francisco. This was a big shift and created a new awareness of how much more is happening in this region. It is much easier for us to establish partnerships and relationships by having a presence here. This all led to an easier raising of funds within our continued Seed funding. We have kept developing the product and sharing it with new big publishers of content. We have been sharing this technology with the following companies to name a few:
- Guns N Roses
- UFC – Ultimate Fighting Championship
- Maker Studios (#1 YouTube Channel)/Disney
- Machinima (#2 YouTube Channel)
- IGN (#3 YouTube Channel)
- CBS Interactive
- National Football League – NFL Network
— Patrick Giblin (@patgiblin) May 5, 2015
Anything you’d do differently?
There are always things that you would do differently as you look backward. The biggest wish would be to create a bigger splash upon our arrival to Data Elite Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz Portfolios. Making more press out of the scholarship to Web Summit. Finding capital faster is always a desired change. But all in all 2014 was a big year of change for me and the company. It was loaded with good things.
Plans for 2015 and the future?
Plans for 2015 are to:
- Develop a dashboard experience for 100 of the strongest Facebook Page profiles showcasing the power and effective use of 451 Degrees, Graffiti as a source of insights to create values around human engagement. We have many brands awaiting the arrival of this piece and we expect it to be completed around the end of summer
- In the Third and Fourth Quarter we will look to close out our Seed Round with another $800,000 raised and begin the march towards a Series A round of $2.5M
- We will look to establish direct API engagements with leading Ad Delivery Networks that will give freedom to publishers of content to monetize the areas around their comments with relevant Advertising based upon human voice and understanding. This will be a new way to optimize content.
- Begin building a team around the people that have spent so much time getting us this far along.
What trends are you excited about?
Trends I am excited about are the understanding and exposure to Big Data.
The understanding of the values around Artificial Intelligence and Machined Learning.
The expansion of content distribution without barriers to distribution being as much of an issue.
Companies are pushing their content more FREELY to multiple sources such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and others. This allows for many different feeds and we focus on bringing them together in symphony and use in real time. This is exciting for us. It is exciting to see the power of the people put to the Web. Voice and opinions matter. They always have but now there are much better ways for people to be heard and they are doing it. They are writing more feverishly about all things they consume; news, events, products, images, videos, it really does not matter they just are speaking to it and about it. Also, just the simple fact that there is more video everywhere and on everything.
You’ve been round the block, tips for other startups?
Tips…always a tough question but the simple statement I try to share with everyone is do not expect people to understand what you are seeing, dreaming, creating or explaining if they have not been there with you. Do not accept someone’s “NO” as defeat but rather as an opportunity. This life of start ups is harder than everyone reads about. Be ready for lots of hard and tough days. You will know your limits and when you hit them go deeper and then you will know what is next. Do not let anyone else tell you when you are done. You will know. Finally, NEVER be afraid to fail. Don’t be an Intellectual Bully. No one likes a bully but they all seem to like evangelists and that line seems to be a pretty thin one.
If you come back to Web Summit is there anything you’ll do differently?
Yes, I will do quite a few things differently at Web Summit this year if we are invited back. I will look to engage more with the Press. Some of my best conversations came from the Press. I will be sure to navigate the entire event with more grace and presence. It is like anything else, your first time is overwhelming and the second time you can ignore what you don;t like and focus on what you want. It does not mean we will get it but at least we will know where to get it. We will look to gain partnerships with other established companies while there and also develop relationships with the VC’s and stay at a different Hotel…
Blogging, who do you follow / like what they do; Neil Patel, Blog Tyrant, Ted Rubin, none of the above or others?
I don’t Blog. I try to Tweet pretty frequently about subject and news I like. I follow Mark Suster of Both Sides of The Table and find him to be really great more often than not. Jason Calacanis is really good on many things. I follow Marc Andreessen for obvious reasons. I respect Brant Cooper of Lean Start Up. He is constantly trying to show early stage start ups how to shape their company to be lwan and mean, useful and fast.
How do you manage the life / work balance?
I don’t think I do…I don’t think many of us in this position get to. What I do try to do is play soccer with my life long friends as often as I can. I also enjoy a good hike for clarity and health. Recently have been beginning to Pilates at Studio 615 in Venice Beach where we are opening a new satellite office and THAT has been amazing. What that does for your entire body is better than anything else. Which in turn frees the mind.
Anything else to add / we should have asked you?
Not sure what else to say but as I reflect for a moment…I think it is important for people to know that all these companies that are trying to make a footprint in this new economy are doing it with a lot of courage more often than not. When you meet an entrepreneur applaud them, encourage them, help them with truth and honesty, they aren’t asking you to do it for them if they really are trying to do something from goodness. So give them the effort yu would give to any other person fighting the fights that others don’t dare try.
Thanks for reading. Cheers Patrick
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