Startup spotlight: OrbitalAds is maximising marketing
As a part of Business Chief’s series on top startups to watch this year, we catch up with Bill Murphy and Gabriel Madruga, co-founders of OrbitalAds, which has been popular in the media recently following its US$3.3mn funding from the European Commission.
Could you tell me a little bit about OrbitalAds?
[Murphy:] OrbitalAds is the only AI solution in the world able to optimise, automatically and in real-time, semantic targeting (Keywords) for any SEM campaign developed for Google Search campaigns, this results in the maximisation of marketing investment results.
Why OrbitalAds? What makes you stand out?
[Madruga:] OrbitalAds has automated with the use of Artificial Intelligence a task that had been carried out manually for 19 years, within a market that moves $135.900mn dollars a year.
What was your last milestone?
[Madruga:] In the last few months, we have started our process of internationalisation, reaching markets such as the United Kingdom and the United States, and we have experienced exponential business and staff growth.
[Murphy:] Team growth is always very gratifying and having the level of talent we have is not easy, but talent attracts talent.
As for clients, closing very large accounts internationally and expanding through service agreements within large organizations we have been working with for some time is a big milestone.
Is there any exciting news you’d like to share with our Business Chief Europe readers?
[Murphy:] We have just announced that we have received $3.3mn funding from the European Commission's Horizon2020 program. For the first time in history, the EC joins as a partner in a group of European companies through this Framework Program which was born with the objective of supporting startups from the continent with were able to show their potential to become 'unicorns' and reach $1bn in revenue.
What can we expect from your company in 2020?
[Madruga:] Growth. We are becoming the de facto tool to manage keywords, and we will be offering solutions for other platforms apart from Google Ads. We will be solidifying our international expansion and attracting talent from around the world to help us solve very interesting challenges.
About Bill Murphy and Gabriel Madruga
Bill Murphy, OrbitalAds cofounder. He has worked in technology departments of big companies like Accenture or Idealista. He has around 20 years of experience in the field and during his career he is always focusing on developing services based on technology to improve and make things easier for businesses.
Gabriel Madruga, OrbitalAds cofounder. He is a digital marketing expert. He has been working for more than 10 years looking for connection elements, automation and processes improvement in order to develop digital marketing innovative solutions that can help large companies to optimize their investments and carry out successful campaigns.
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SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”