It’s time for another company highlight! This week we take a deeper look at Wyzerr and AdAdapted, two companies from outside of Cincinnati.
Who’s on your team and how did you find each other?
Mike Pedersen – CEO
Molly McFarland – CMO
Mike: Molly and myself are the two co-founders, but our total team is up to six. The two of us met at another start-up that was in the marketing tech space. I was the architect of the initial platform and worked hand in hand with the sales and marketing team to bring on new clients.
While I was there, I spent a lot of time working with Molly and that lead to us teaming up on AdAdapted.
Natasia Malaihollo – CEO, Lead Programmer
Bjorn Simmons – CMO
Stedmon Harper – CCO
Natasia: We have 3 full-time founders in Cincinnati: Stedmon Harper, Bjorn Simmons, and myself. I met Stedmon in Fayetteville, Arkansas while working on my first startup, Sooligan, 3 years ago. I was in The Ark Challenge accelerator there and we were looking for someone to help us market to the students at the University of Arkansas. Stedmon was a local influencer at the college so we recruited him to help us do outreach and events for students. Stedmon stayed on with the company all three years while we worked on the startup. When Sooligan ended last year, I recruited Stedmon to help me start Wyzerr. He brought on Bjorn to help out with the sales and marketing.
What is your company?
Mike: Have you ever clicked on one of those banner ads at the bottom of your favorite app? Probably not. Can you even name the brand you last saw advertised in one? Again, probably not. Advertising through banner ads and popups is common, yet disruptive and ineffective.
AdAdapted is changing that by creating a native advertising platform specifically for mobile applications. Instead of using a one size fits all solution, AdAdapted provides tools that allows developers to build custom sponsored experiences into their application. Now they can create ads that match the look, feel, and context of their application.
Since house a number of custom ads, our platform can match apps up with brands where there’s a contextual fit. When you’re out grocery shopping, what’s more effective, an ad about a product you can find in two minutes in the store or a message about how Obama wants you to refinance your home?
For brands, they receive a custom experience, at scale, in environments where the user is highly engaged.
Natasia: Wyzerr helps businesses capture customer feedback. We build surveys that look and feel like games.
What attracted you to apply to The Brandery?
Mike: We’re constantly trying to get into the door with brands, saw the name, and applied. Seemed to make sense.
Natasia: I’ve actually been obsessed with The Brandery for the past 4 years. They rejected my first startup twice. I’ve always loved everything about what they stand for. I believe branding is incredibly important to any product or service that is consumer-facing, which Wyzerr is. You want be top of mind when a consumer thinks about something they need, which you offer. The partnerships with the creative agencies is what really made us apply to The Brandery. As a company that is really UX/UI focused, we wanted as many creative minds and thought leaders in this space to help improve our platform.
What’s been the best part?
Mike: The incredible set of mentors who are associated with the Brandery. Since joining the Brandery, we’ve had the opportunity to get advice with some of the best minds in advertising, product, and adtech investing.
Natasia: The creative agencies. We were fortunate enough to have two outstanding partnerships (POSSIBLE and Seed Strategy). They really treat us like a partner and help us with everything from design, logo, UX/UI, to our pitch deck, fundraising strategy, and brand manifesto. In exchange, we bring them fresh ideas and innovation. We’ve learned so much about branding and messaging, and how to position ourselves in the marketplace from our meetings with them.
Work aside, what’s your favorite thing to do in Cincinnati?
Mike: Chill and have a beer at Lachey’s.
Natasia: For me personally, I really enjoy running from Ohio to Kentucky. I love the area around the riverbank, the bridge, and Covington. There’s so much character and it’s gorgeous. I sometimes just sit near the water and sketch new ideas for a user interface.
Big things ahead for these guys! Browse through their websites and products (AdAdapted, Wyzerr) to stay in touch with their companies, and check here soon to take a look at our next two highlighted startups!
Photos in this post by Zackariah Cole Photography.