A Q&A with Idomoo co-founder and president Yaron Kalish. The Hod HaSharon, Israel-based startup, which offers a solution that allows companies to create individualized video content for customers, closed a nearly $9 million Series A funding round in mid-June, led by Marker LLC. It was founded in 2008.
SUB: Please describe Idomoo and your primary innovation.
Kalish: Idomoo is revolutionizing the way companies communicate with their customers by using personalized video to bring back that feeling that your service provider knows who you are and appreciates your value. We are able to generate massive numbers of individually personalized videos for our clients based on our flexible and open template creation tools. Personalized video is the best way for companies to get their messages across whether they are trying to explain a confusing bill or statement or make a compelling case for an offer or upsell. Our results from customers across the world already show that personalized video can help reduce churn, build brand loyalty and generate a little moment of ‘wow’ for each viewer. In addition, we are also developing a personalized video solution for real-time online advertising as well as ad re-targeting.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Kalish: We have been targeting large enterprises, from telcos, banks, and insurance companies, to retailers with huge loyalty clubs—and we’re starting now to move down the pyramid to provide personalized video solutions for medium-sized businesses that understand the impact of one-to-one communication.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Kalish: In the world of personalized video, SundaySky.
SUB: What differentiates Idomoo from the competition?
Kalish: We developed our video personalization platform to be as open and flexible as possible. We don’t hold our clients hostage creatively. We encourage them to develop video content templates that will achieve exactly what they set out to do based on our best practices and expertise, and then we give them the tools to personalize their video so that it is perfectly targeted at an audience of one.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Kalish: The company was founded in 2008. We were already focused on short-form video as the most compelling medium for connecting with individuals. Video was transitioning from something made for entertainment to an increasingly in-demand business tool. Nevertheless, we felt that it was still a broadcast or one-to-many medium where there is always the chance that you will be talking about dog food to cat owners. Bringing personalization to online video allowed us to convert it to a one-to-one medium where every viewer sees relevant information at all times.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Idomoo? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Kalish: We didn’t invent personalization and we certainly didn’t invent video. I guess the ‘aha’ moment was when we looked at the possibilities for combining both these elements to serve the needs of enterprises. We know that companies have invested in big data in order to understand everything they can about their customers. The only issue that remains is how to leverage this wealth of information in ways that benefit both the enterprise and its customers. Video is perfect for that. People are increasingly comfortable receiving valuable and actionable information via video, and they’re watching video on their phones as well as their computers. A personalized video can address each customer not only by name, but in respect of his loyalty club balance, previous purchasing activity, or his birthday. It harkens back to the days when your bank manager knew your name and when your kids were going off to college was able to deliver a service tailored to your needs. Personalized video shows each customer that the company cares.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Kalish: Idomoo actually came from the phrase “I do movies,” so the last two syllables of ‘Idomoo’ should rhyme. At a recent exhibition, a visitor from Japan told us that ‘Idomoo’ means something like ‘steadfast’ in Japanese, so we were quite happy with that explanation too.
SUB: You recently raised just less than $9 million in venture funding. Was this the company’s first round of outside funding?
Kalish: Yes. With the success we’ve had in the past year, we felt the time was right to expand our presence in the U.S. and in South America.
SUB: Why was this a particularly good time to raise funding?
Kalish: It was a good time for Idomoo. We’re coming off an outstanding year with a pipeline that will allow us to triple sales in the coming year.
SUB: Do you have plans to raise more funds in the near future?
Kalish: Not right now, no.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Kalish: Not obstacles, challenges. I truly believe that a personalized video strategy is a must-have, not a nice-to-have. The benefits personalized video offer are both immediate and long-term. Everyone loves immediate benefits, but you need a more visionary outlook to appreciate long-term benefits. Our personalized videos deliver a positive impact on brand loyalty as measured by the Net Promoter Score. There is a proven link between increased brand loyalty and increased revenue. We help CEOs connect those dots.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Kalish: We already generate revenue from sales in Europe, North America and South America. We have served tens of millions of personalized videos already for our clients and we will continue to expand our presence with existing clients and to broaden our client base.
SUB: What are your goals for Idomoo over the next year or so?
Kalish: To expand our presence in markets which have been super responsive so far, like Brazil. To continue over-delivering for all our clients. To show the world that personalized video makes a difference to the way we all feel about the companies that serve us.
Idomoo – www.idomoo.com