For today's interview, we caught up with Clark Landry, the chairman of GraphEffect (www.grapheffect.com), a Santa Monica company which is helping other companies to hone their advertising on Facebook. Landry is a serial entrepreneur, and active investor, having been co-founder of TagWorld.
Thanks for the time today! First of all, talk about GraphEffect and what you are doing?
Clark Landry: GraphEffect is a company that helps other companies advertise effectively on Facebook. We're one of the limited number of companies who have been granted access to Facebook's Ads API program, which allows us to build tools on top of Facebook's advertising tools. Specifically, it allows the automatic creation of ads, the automatic optimization of ads based on conversions, and other things that help companies advertise more effectively on Facebook, and using it to run large scale campaigns on the platform.How did firm come about?
Clark Landry: It was founded by myself and James Borow, our CEO. James is CEO, I am Chairman. James and I worked together at a previous company, Top Level Domain Holdings. We started the company about a year and a half ago, because we saw an enormous opportunity in helping companies advertise effectively on Facebook. I learned quite a bit from James, who knows more about this than anyone I've ever encountered, and who came up with the idea to start this. We've done really well since then, were profitable in 2010, and have had some really great clients. We've worked with Microsoft, Live Nation, Variety, and other clients, plus just closed our funding of $2.2M from a group of VCs and angels.
Which VCs were those?
Clark Landry: We're working with Rincon Venture Partners, Crosscut Ventures, Lerer Ventures, Thrive Capital, the Founder Collective, and Baroda Ventures. The angels included in the round included Matt Coffin and Stephen Kim. It's a great group of investors, who we are extremely happy to have on board.
There are lots of companies trying to make sense of advertising on Facebook. What's the advantage of what Grapheffect does?
Clark Landry: Some of it is just secret sauce in the system, which allows us to reduce the cost of conversions for clients. There are some basic things, as well, such as helping people to create mass numbers of ads really quickly, by putting in different iterations of copy and creative, changing demographic targeting criteria, interest targeting, and having the system automatically create those ads and optimize them based on conversion metrics. Those can be sales, coupon redemptions, or downloads. It's been very effective so far. We also tend to see lots of campaigns where it's on a cost-per-Like basis. It's based on Likes on a page, or installs of an application.
It might be worth talking a bit about your background--since you've had a hand in many startups and as an investor--can you tell us a bit more?
Clark Landry: I've been involved in a variety of startups in the consumer Internet and online advertising spaces over the year. I was a co-founder of a company called TagWorld, which was a social networking website we ended up selling to Viacom. Before GraphEffect, I was founder of a company called Top Level Domain Holdings, which was set up to apply for new top level domains like .nyc for New York, and .eco for environmentally focused domains. Prior to that, I was on the investor side. I was founding investor in Adconion, a large ad network, as well as Traffic Marketplace, which we sold to Vivendi in 2000. Most recently, my angel investments have been in Burstly, the iPhone monetization platform run by Evan Rifkin--he's a friend and former college--and also in Ecomom, the provider of environmentally friendly products to moms and families which is run by Jody Sherman.
What's the next step now?
Clark Landry: It's going really well. We're looking to staff up pretty aggressively, and are buildling out our engineering team, sales team, and ad operations team. We're really trying to scale things from here, because there is so much opportunity in the space. We just don't have enough time in the day to take advantage of it all. What we really need, is more people to help sell, continue to improve our product, and manage campaigns.
Thanks, and good luck!