Win-win-win: Former Twitter APAC exec Aliza Knox on her new role at Unlockd

In a surprising move, former Twitter APAC executive Aliza Knox has moved to mobile ad platform startup Unlockd, taking the chief operating officer role.

Speaking to The Drum, Knox said that Unlockd had piqued her interest with its 'win-win-win' model.

“I'm attracted to the 'win-win-win' model where our partners – mobile operators and streaming companies, advertisers and consumers - all benefit. I also like that it's a very young company with tremendous opportunity, fantastic deals already in place, a clear focus, and strong leaders,” said Knox

Unlockd’s business model enables consumers to convert time spent watching ads into rewards such as discounts on their mobile bill, additional data or premium entertainment content.

For the moment, Knox shares the vision of the directors and founder of Unlockd.

‘”I share the founder and board's vision, which is to change the way people use and pay with their digital devices. With four live products in market for both Unlockd Connect (telcos) and Unlockd Stream (subscription content providers) within the first 15 months and more to come in 2017 that we will soon be able to announce, we are excited about the roadmap for the business and our ability to achieve our vision,” said Knox.

As for expanding their presence in Asia, Knox believes that too is in the pipeline, but declines to disclose any details or concrete dates.

“Given the high level of interest in our business already expressed by Asian mobile operators, streaming services and advertisers, we expect to have a strong presence in the region,” she added.

The biggest challenge then to Knox would be aligning expectations of Unlockd’s customers, network operators, advertisers and consumers.

“We know all three are attracted to our model, but the challenge is to get all three aligned at once to kick things off,” said Knox.

Knox brushes off any notion that APAC is different from any other market with the belief that things are well in hand.

“APAC is no different to any other region in this regard, and we are already in discussions with a number of key players across several markets,” she said.

As for expansion into the rest of APAC, Knox remains tight-lipped but said,” Where we locate people depends on where business expansion occurs. While there's no certainty, my bet is that you will see us placing people in other APAC locations.”

As for lessons she is taking from her previous role in Twitter, Knox pushes the theme of talent retention, something that companies have been harping on in the recent years.

“The biggest challenges facing fast-growth companies with myriad opportunities, like Unlockd, are attracting talent, focusing efforts, and prioritising activities. As such, it's really important to focus on building a strong and collaborative team, who can use the resource constraints to get creative and scrappy. In addition, it's critical to force prioritisation,” she said.