Robin Wong is an investor and a core member of the management team of the Elsy Inc, a media technology company based in the US.
Before joining Elsy, he served as the APAC CEO of Mindshare’s Future Adaptive Specialist Team (FAST).
Presently in Singapore as a consultant for Elsy Inc, we caught up with Robin to find out about the history of Elsy, what’s their nature of business, and his thoughts on Elsy’s future.
Can you share with us what is Elsy and how does it work?
Elsy is a media technology company that uses data and algorithms to deliver data-driven omnichannel media planning, resulting in greater media ROI and improved operating efficiency. We help US Advertisers and their Agencies achieve greater returns on their entire portfolio of Media Investments through data-driven planning across traditional, social, digital and programmatic media channels. Data-Driven Media Planning is a radically new approach to Media Planning, which puts Technology and Algorithms at the core of the Media Planning process. It allows decision makers to harness all available data to make the best possible media investment decisions, connecting the dots between their experimentation, measurement and media investment plans.
As of today, Elsy only operates in the USA and we are working on our expansion to international markets.
How did the idea come about?
We find there is a huge opportunity to manage media investments in a data and algorithmic driven fashion. For reference, in the USA, hundreds of billions of USD are invested annually in advertising investments, with tens of billions spent in agency fees for media planning and activation. Elsy helps advertisers achieve the following:
Superior Returns: Plan Campaigns against expected business outcomes rather than media metrics. Avoid wasteful activities by assessing expected returns using norms and / or available in-market ROI measurements.
Increased Speed and Efficiency: Increase efficiency and agility by accelerating planning cycles through automation. Plan at greater levels of granularity to further optimise your investments.
Greater Control and Transparency: Get full visibility and traceability into the planning process, investment decisions and underlying assumptions.
Collective Intelligence: Harness collective intelligence to identify new investment opportunities and compare your performance and planning assumptions with other leading Brands.
Reduced Silos: Reduce silos across media channels (Traditional, Social, Programmatic and Digital) and teams, and better integrate all available measurements with your Media Planning process.
Culture of Experimentation: Rigorous and systematic use of data and measurements to continuously test, learn and optimize media investments.
What were the initial challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
For me personally, the initial challenges were definitely related to leaving a cushy corporate leadership job for a small, early stage company. From high level business planning and winning new business to return to a hands-on, roll-up sleeve work life was something I had to overcome initially. There is no one to delegate tasks to in a small setup. Everyone in the team has to be very hands-on, agile and smart in the way we invest our time and efforts.
What were the reactions of your loved ones when you told them your plan to run your business?
They were generally very supportive. I have been an angel investor of Elsy since 2016 and the company is not new to them. They know I am joining a star team, people I have worked with in the trenches since 12 to 16 years ago. The Elsy core team in New York has been my work family for more than 10 years and we have lots of trust and respect for each other.
Where do you see Elsy in the next 5 years?
Our Elsy platform will be rolled out to more markets, beyond the USA and we will service clients in EMEA, APAC and LATAM. Our product will also be highly intelligent, with AI and machine learning sharpening our algorithms on a continual basis across markets.
Is there anything you would like to share with the readers?
For those based in Singapore, I encourage more of you to step forth and be more entrepreneurial, if not starting your own company, then at least invest in startups or join them as early stage employees/partners. I think our parents’ era of wealth creation thru stellar asset price growth and high rental yields has ended. Inflation has been at an all-time low in developed nations for the past 10 years or so. Singapore (and in fact most developed nations) cannot just depend on nominal value creation thru weak asset price growth and negligible asset rental yields. We need to start creating more real value thru’ enterprises, creating more higher value adding jobs and roles. So start saving, investing and planning for this as you work/study and when the right opportunity comes, jump on it!