livedooh GmbH develops software solutions for the digital outdoor advertising industry. Using own-developed Ad-servers, advertisement campaigns can be effectively controlled and advertised to targeted groups. Reactions of the viewers of the advertisements are analyzed using an anonymized, intelligent video analysis technology. The data is also used to evaluate the success of outdoor advertising. We interviewed the team on the idea behind livedooh, its founding period, and future prospects.
What does your company stand for?
livedooh specializes in developing software solutions for the digital outdoor advertising industry. It is the first company to integrate the conventional concepts and tools from the online advertising world, particularly targeting and automatic distribution tools, in outdoor advertising. This is how the first Ad-server for this advertisement channel came about and automated as well as revolutionized the planning and implementation of advertisement campaigns.
Where and how did you get this brilliant idea?
The idea was born in Karlsruhe. The founding team consists of experienced specialists in online Ad-servers, video analysis systems as well as technology and server management. Our co-founder, Fernando, has over 15 years of experience in the development of software solutions for Ad-servers, both for the TV industry and the online industry. He saw a display with a digital advertisement during a trip within Germany. That is when he asked himself how intelligent these systems are, and whether it is possible to place targeted advertisements for certain customer groups. Through a very intensive research, he was able to determine that the systems were not in a position to meet the mentioned demands. The idea hence resulted from this gap in the market. With his expertise in online marketing, Fernando designed the first draft of an Ad-server and set out in search of a team. This is how livedooh came to be.
How did your founding team come together?
Three of the founders have a Latin American background and already knew each other. However, this did not play any decisive role. Much more important was our shared passion for start-ups and technology. At the age of 18, Rodrigo had already founded his first company that offered web-hosting services. Pablo had long been interested in enabling transfer of technology from Germany to Ecuador. He had thus set out to do this together with his brother. Fernando had founded a company that developed church management software in the USA 15 years ago. He successfully sold the company one year later.
The three founders got to know of Videmo’s livedooh through an article of the Center for Entrepreneurship (CIE). One of Videmo’s products is PeopleStats which analyzes faces in video images and hence provides minute-by-minute statistics. As entrepreneurs, we found that to be very interesting. Videmo enables collection of information about people who are watching a commercial. One is thus able to produce target-oriented adverts. After several discussions with the creators of Videmo, they also joined the founding team of livedooh.
What would you say are the benefits of being your own boss?
Being your own boss calls for a lot of commitment and motivation. This also takes on a huge amount of responsibility which not many are willing to take. Moreover, it is hard work. One invests time in the tasks and activities that one finds to be really interesting. One is therefore easily motivated. If one puts in a lot of effort and does things right, one can be successful. There is nothing better than seeing that you have accomplished something on your own.
What do you think are the properties that one should have to be a successful entrepreneur?
What would you term as the hurdles on the way to a successful business? Where did you get support?
The greatest hurdle on the way to success is the uncertainty. With a start-up, you are never sure if you will survive in the market. You have to motivate yourself every day in order to keep going. There are moments when even relatives, good friends or important persons are skeptical of the idea. This has a negative impact. You look for support in these people. However, when they do not believe in the idea, you are only left with the belief in the founding team. Luckily, there are also other entrepreneurs who are more experienced. They often offer support in case of problems.
How did you deal with the large workloads during start-up?
We are a multidisciplinary team. From the beginning, we have always divided all tasks best and fairest possible amongst ourselves. This significantly helped us reduce the workload. In times when there was a lot to do, we tried to prioritize tasks and set fixed deadlines in order to promptly cope with the workload. This way, every member of the founding team already knew in the start-up phase, what they had to do and when they had to be through. Whoever completed their tasks ahead of schedule helped the others with their tasks.
Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?
The way to a successful company is very tough and uncertain. However, everything that you learn on the way is invaluable. You have to keep at it, move on and remain motivated. There will be times when you will just want to give up. These feelings are normal. Do not let the negative opinions of other people influence you. Remain open to criticism and feedback and do not be afraid to tell others of your ideas.
Useful contacts are very important in the start-up phase. You will meet very interesting and innovative people particularly in events. You should try to establish a network at the various founders’ events.
For those who are currently finishing their studies and are considering starting a company – this is the best time to start a business! Your risk is minimal since you do not have a family or any large commitments. If it does not work out, you wouldn’t have lost anything, the experience still remains. And you will still have the chance of employment in a company.