We talked to Asaf Nevo on how Pico makes fan interaction data-driven, and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Asaf Nevo: We’re doing well, you know I think we are all trying to navigate these times with as much positivity as we and anybody can. I will say that we are excited to ring in the new year and welcome 2021. Thanks for the question. I hope all is well with you and your family.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Pico?
Asaf Nevo: I think it’s safe to say that I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. From my required military service to my University studies- I’ve always tried to find ways to innovate general, day-to-day situations, circumstances, etc.
The founding of Pico is actually one of my favorites. Myself, along with another co-founder, Roi Mozer, successfully operated and ran a popular night-life company in downtown Haifa. Right down the street from where Pico HQ is now. We would constantly try to find fun, interesting ways to bring technology practices into the night-life space. We even tested a machine that gave our guests the opportunity to order their own drinks that got rid of the long queues often found in crowded bars, restaurants, etc.
So after a few years of fun there, we decided we wanted to go full-time into our side project, spoiler alert, it turned out to be Pico. We left our positions, sold our shares, and dove right in. And originally, Pico – Get Personal used to be Pico.buzz and was started as a photo-sharing platform after we noticed that after popular events, such as weddings or birthdays, there was no easy way to share photos with all of the attendees. Mind you- this was before Snapchat, Instagram and Instagram stories.
The whole idea at the time was to create a way for people, brands, and organizations to share photos easily, and for brands to have one dedicated place for user-generated content. That was our pitch anyway.
We eventually pivoted the company to where we are now – a data-driven fan marketing platform powered by AI. Our third co-founder Aviv Paz, joined us as we started to develop, test, and launch the product. We’ve been in the market with a working product since 2017, and have over 50+ teams and leagues as partners. It has been an extremely rewarding process and experience as we have not only seen growth within the company but within our winning team too.
How does Pico innovate?
Asaf Nevo: Pico innovates through monetizing the social engagement. We always say that engagement isn’t a problem for our clients. We see great engagement rates across the board when we look at sports and the industry in general, as sports fans are very engaged by nature. They like to be in the know, and they like to communicate with their teams digitally. The problem is that teams, leagues, and any organization with a large following, don’t know who they are engaging. All of the likes, comments, and shares come from profiles that are made anonymous to the team. We found a way to turn those hundreds of thousands of likes, comments, and shares into true user profiles in a way that benefits both fan, team, and organization through our digital activations and data-capture technology.
Once a team is able to identify their digital fans, they’re able to take the relationship to the next level. The relationships become more personal, the messaging becomes more specific to each fan, and they can actually begin to cross-reference their digital fans to those that they already have living within their database. With each new data point, the organization is able to curate content specific to a fans’ likes and personal preferences.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Asaf Nevo: Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have actually seen quite a bit of growth. And it isn’t lost on us how fortunate we are to see both growth on the client-side as well as the funding side during such an unprecedented time.
Teams traditionally relied on transactional data from their fans – ticket purchases, merch sales, email sign-ups, etc. – and when COVID hit, the data streams they were so reliant on suddenly stopped. Months and even years prior, we were saying that in order to maintain sustainability within, teams can’t solely rely on the in-game fan experience and need to understand and know their digital fan base – the fans found on social media, apps, forums, websites, and more. And in order to really know them, they need to own the data on them.
The pandemic put a focus on the importance of knowing one’s digital fans, and the demand for our solution increased.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Asaf Nevo: I think that anyone leading or launching any type of company, service, what have you, has faced challenges that required difficult decisions. So I tend to find comfort in that experience we all have and share.
During the Dream It accelerator program, we took part of meant three months away from my family- meaning my wife, aka the hero, was left to care for our young children while our team of co-founders created and developed Pico in the United States. More often than not we have to make the difficult decision of choosing where to spend our time and efforts for the sake of the company, so I feel lucky to have the support system I do back home.
However, like all lessons, there was a major takeaway here where I saw and understood that the time needs to be evenly split between business and family as much as possible. And to share the processes, even the small ones that don’t feel significant, with the family so that they can see and understand what’s really going on, what we’re really going through at the company. And I’ve learned that they enjoy it- they want to hear what dad is working on, what clients Pico signed yesterday, a cool activation we launched.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Asaf Nevo: As said in the previous question, I feel really lucky to have the team that I have, both from a familial standpoint and from a work standpoint. There’s a lot of support from both ends, which is crucial when leading any type of venture and when dealing with the stress that can come from it.
I also believe the transparency and honesty we have at Pico helps the entire company see and believe in the vision, and helps us get there.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Asaf Nevo: We stay in the game through our game-changing technology that outperforms typical industry KPIs. That drives real business outcomes for our partners through creating new revenue streams, personalized fan experiences, and demonstrates the importance of data when it comes to fan marketing.
Your final thoughts?
Asaf Nevo: I’ll leave you with some food for thought and something I really believe in – don’t be afraid of failure. And if you do fail, go out and fail again and try to learn from the failures. Learn from the mistakes, the feedback, and use it to your advantage when you go back and try again. This is the most important muscle needed in order to succeed and experience growth.
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