First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Francis Casado: All good here, thanks for asking. To be honest, I am quite surprised, especially how the kids have adapted themselves to this unusual situation.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Mobile Media Content
Francis Casado: I was born in a humble family in Olot (Girona) and moved to Barcelona to study. I have a degree in Computer Science and an International MBA (LaSalle / Manhattan College). I have always been interested in entrepreneurship since my partners set up their own businesses, as well as my sisters.
My business partner Michele Marino and I founded Mobile Media Content (MMC) Company in May 2012. It was a tough start; in Europe, there is a lack of digital alphabetization. The vast majority of sports venues and performing arts don’t have a digital marketing department interested in using digital tools to foster ticket sales, season tickets, or premium sales. It took almost four years until the company business ramped up and converted what originally was a tailor-made project into a B2B service. This service is called 3D Digital Venue and nowadays is being used in 17 countries worldwide in more than 3,000 events per year.
How does Mobile Media Content innovate?
Francis Casado: Our Company innovates in the way we create the services and how we deploy them for clients. We are the only company in the world using videogame technologies to create professional services for clubs and performing arts centers to sell more tickets or even promote their digital premium sales offering. In addition, we use the 3D model of the venue itself as the central pillar of our offering, but we are able to pivot and create additional services on top. The most recent one has been creating Social Distance algorithms to calculate how fans can go back to stadiums safely. Our system can calculate the layout based on architectural measurements and apply complex business rules, such as the percentage of fans in groups of 2s, 3s, or 4s, and even kill aisle seats.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Francis Casado: When the pandemic started, we were a bit skeptical of how our relationship with venues and ticketing platforms could be. We provide technology for venues, but in the end, we integrate our services with ticketing platforms, providing a new frontend for them to increase conversion rates and facilitate selling more tickets. We generated then the Social Distance Manager to allow these ticketing platforms to offer services, calculate socially distanced seating layouts for their clients, and re-open venues safely.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Francis Casado: We had to cut all our marketing actions, majorly based on meeting people at events worldwide. This is where we excel, having personal relationships with clients. Changing this personal relationship to an online environment was tough in the initial stage, but it became familiar and “normal” if we can say that. Now it has become the new normality, and clients are more open to chat on a video environment with us and generate confidence through that online channel.
In addition, moving the entire team remotely was a real challenge since we are a company that generally re-invests a lot of time and money in R&D. These processes rely a lot on personal meetings and face to face brainstorming sessions. Now everything has moved to digital, and people are getting used to it.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Mobile Media Content in the future?
Francis Casado: I personally deal with stress and anxiety practicing sport. Sport has been a crucial part of my life since I was a child. Spending 1.5 hours per day working out or simply going out for a run is elemental to keep my brain active and keep the stress away.
As far as our team management is concerned, we try to set up two calls per month with the whole team to tell them how the situation is evolving and also two calls per week with the different teams to define objectives, follow up the progress and prevent deviations using the “sprint” approach. It helps us figure out the situation and make decisions both at a personal level and “per client.”
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Francis Casado: Three companies in the world provide a similar service, two of them are located in the US, and ticketing platforms have acquired them. IO-Media is the first one in terms of market share and has been acquired by Ticketmaster. It operates mainly in NFL and NHL teams. The second one is Ballena Technologies, acquired by PACIOLAN and operates mostly in the collegian space. The third company is based in Paris and is called PACIFA Decision, mainly operating in France and with a couple of experiences in the UK.
To be ahead of our competitors, MMC has developed a working methodology and some automatisms capable of reproducing in 3D, in any venue, in very short times (3-6 weeks), and if the space changes, regenerate it in 48h. Once the venue’s virtual model is generated, the interactive visuals are generated and automatically uploaded to a cloud environment in a very short time (from 3 to 14 seconds per panoramic environment). Our competition takes 45 to 90 minutes for each visual. This flexibility has been fundamental in convincing Clubs, Federations, Leagues, and ticketing platforms to integrate our platform into their ticket sales and renewal of season tickets.
Your final thoughts?
Francis Casado: This uncertain situation is both opening new opportunities while changing the way we consume content again. Nobody knows how long this pandemic will last and if the reality as we know it now will stay or change. Only dynamic and open-minded organizations will survive, and hopefully, we will be part of them.
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