We talked to Lior Zaidner of Heyoya – a voice comments platform that takes businesses beyond text and he had the following to say about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Lior Zaidner: This is a very challenging year, one that requires everyone to be more responsible and not just for themselves. Overall, we are doing very well and I have to admit that 2020 has been quite positive for our bonding as a family.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Heyoya.
Lior Zaidner: I’ve been involved with media and start-ups for the past 15 years, from working in big corporates like The Walt Disney Company to being part of the first employee of a new company like Heyoya. This background enables me to know where to start from when there’s nothing there and have a clear direction in terms of where the company should be in the near and not so near future. Heyoya was founded by two extremely talented individuals, who currently run the company as its CEO and CTO. When the founders asked me to join Heyoya as their CRO, it took me one meeting to see the technology and the people behind it to say yes.
How does Heyoya innovate?
Lior Zaidner: Heyoya is the most robust voice comment platform in the market, and we have a certified US patent for our technology. There’s been a slow yet steady shift in the media industry towards audio in the last few years. Voice assistance and voice messaging slowly become part of our daily routine. This trend accelerated in the last few months, with the Twitter announcement of the voice tweets and mainly following Google’s announcement of opening its audio ads demand. Heyoya is currently one of the best solutions for website owners to engage with their users using voice and create a new audio ads inventory and generate a new revenue stream.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Lior Zaidner: Covid-19 had a minor impact on our business mainly because our partners had to reduce the size of their teams, which had a direct effect on our pipeline. Simply put, everything moved slower than expected on the development, sales, and investment side. Covid-19 also had a positive impact on the company, as online activity was raised during the pandemic. Both publishers and networks had to find creative ways to cover the gap in their revenues in 2020. Heyoya was a perfect solution for them. We manage to go live with new publishers and media groups in the US, Europe, and even South America.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Lior Zaidner: We didn’t expand the team as planned, which meant the existing employees had to work even harder to cover the workload. In these challenging times, we learned that even if you work in a very commercial environment, where every page view is being counted, the human side, especially building strong relationships with your business partners, is still the most important thing.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Heyoya in the future?
Lior Zaidner: Whenever the company or I is in a stressful situation, I always try to take a step back from the situation and have a look at the big picture, which usually puts everything in perspective. At Heyoya, even though we are a tech start-up, we’re placing human interaction in the centre of our activity. We’re making sure to talk as much as we can and get advice from other team members, which helps reduce the stress level. We’ve seen some great growth in 2020, and we’re hoping to do even better in 2021. In the future, we’re aiming to be one of the strongest players in the audio scene and expand our offering beyond traditional websites.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Lior Zaidner: As we are the most robust voice comment platform in the market, we don’t have any direct competitors, but we do look at other commenting platforms in the market as our competition. Since our solution is so unique, we keep improving our technology and product to position ourselves as a true leader of the audio scene.
Your final thoughts?
Lior Zaidner: In business, it’s always important to innovate and think outside of the box, especially in challenging times like we’re experiencing today. Making a change is never easy, but it’s crucial if a company wants to make sure it stays ahead of the competitors. I think that the fact that we, at Heyoya, kept our eyes and ears open to the changes in our industry and were able to adapt accordingly, which was key for our growth in 2020.