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Company Highlight: Retarget Links

With the recent announcement of the Brandery accelerator class of 2017, we are excited to highlight each of the companies with their own blog post! Every day, we will post about one of the seven companies in our class for you to learn more about. Only two months separate us from Demo Day, so let’s get to know the names and faces behind the companies!

Today we’ll be highlighting Retarget Links!

Serge Salager and Scott Valentine (not pictured)

What does your company do?

We are taking intent-advertising to a level unimaginable before. Our breakthrough “link” retargeting technology is able to deliver 15 targeted banner ads, as consumers browse the web, with a 75%+ accuracy.

Our core product is a link shortener that will show banner ads to anyone clicking on these short links. Links shortened with our product may direct to any destination; once clicked, the consumer will begin to see retargeted ads for the brand that created the link as they browse the web.

Pampers can show 150,000 super targeted banner ads to 10,000 people that click on the content.

The advertiser can use our product for “content” retargeting with publishers, social media, email, search, influencers and affiliates (thus allowing “retargeting” in these media – something not possible until now). Consumers click on links to content based on their interest thus allowing for “intent” advertising.
We developed our system to be user friendly (shortening a link + drag & drop ads) which us order of magnitude easier than “site” retargeting where the advertiser needs to ask their IT to insert scripts of code in websites. This is important as it significantly lowers the barriers to trial and adoption.

The simplicity of our tool has made it accessible to any small advertiser, including those that don’t even have a website, and thus opening a new market. A teenager shared links to Justin Bieber’s pictures in email and Facebook to promote her Sweet 16 birthday party to 40 of her girl-friends. We showed 600 ads to her astonished friends in Vogue, Elle and other premium publishers at cost of $25 (our minimum spend).

Simple to use, Retarget Links are a great way to amplify by 15 ads any of your marketing efforts.

What attracted you to apply to the Brandery?

We are super proud to have been accepted at The Brandery as it is arguably the world’s No1 ad-tech accelerator. The fact that P&G and WPP (via Dave Knox), the largest advertiser and the largest media agency in the world respectively, are involved makes this program, really unique.

We also are very proud of the fact that we are the only start-up in 2017 with whom P&G is running a pilot this year. Our investors (we raised $400K last year) are impressed too as they double down on their initial investment to support us through the program. The news also allowed us to find new investors too.

How did the team come together?

In 2015 Serge sold his previous company, a 40 employee SaaS company, to a Toronto Stock Exchange listed company. He also started Visualping, a consumer based startup, around the same time.

Two developers joined Serge to go through the MVP process and raise our first round. Our biggest milestone to date was participating to the Brandery, having the opportunity to do a pilot with Procter & Gamble and, of course, the hiring of our No2 in command: Scott Valentine.

Scott is the Head of Product and Marketing and comes from Emerson Electric in Saint Louis, where he was responsible for app product development at their consumer division. Before this, Scott was a marketing manager at a Vancouver-based media agency.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned at the Brandery so far?

The Brandery had a transformational impact in our company as it allowed to uncover a need that Fortune 100 companies had that we were not aware before.

We started as a startup that was solving a big problem to small and medium advertisers: how to show banner ads in prestigious publications (Forbes, Fast Company, Wall Street Journal) to a defined set of prospects (email lists, social media followers etc) without breaking up the bank ($200-500/mo).

Thanks to the Brandery, the involvement of Possible (a WPP media agency) and the P&G pilot we “discovered” our company could be used to solve incredible hard problem to solve for large brands ie: 95% of the banner ads are wasted. The “Elseve curly hair” banner ad below will be shown to 95% of women that don’t have curly hair.

We came to the realization that all actions consumer do as they browse is based on interest and that most of these actions are clicks on links going from A to B. We then thought large advertisers can use our product for “content” retargeting with publishers, social media, email, search, influencers and affiliates (thus allowing “retargeting” in these media – something not possible until now).

This is when we told ourselves that retargeting on links could be a billion dollar idea as everybody clicks on links, day in and day out, and this could be most powerful way, even perhaps better than Google, for advertisers to know what consumers are interested about and display ads based on that interest.

What do you like most about Cincinnati?

The talent base. With top-performing Fortune 500 companies dispersed throughout the city, the opportunity for advisement and growth for our company is huge.

Did you have an “aha!” moment?

Yes. two times: Coming up with the idea of tagging in a short link was a simple idea but incredibly hard to conceptualize the potential of the finding. Secondly, being able to deliver ads through the real time bidding networks and compete with other advertisers like Amazon in speed and efficiency was the most difficult hurdle from a technical point of view and our biggest expense.

For more information on Retarget Links, go to retargetlinks.com or download the Retarget Links app: chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/retargetlinks. To know more about their corporate development and patent history click here.