I love the digital advertising business – do you?

Digital veteran Phil Cooper provides news and insight on what's happening in the London start-up scene. An internet entrepreneur, Cooper has built and sold two digital businesses – the last to Fox/News Corp for an undisclosed eight-figure (US dollar) sum – and has just founded the native advertising business neoncandi.com

Phil Cooper: At home in digital advertising

It is not until you step out of somewhere that you get a chance to really look closer at its beauty. “Step out of the wood and look back at the trees."

After 12 years immersed in digital advertising, I stepped out of the wood 18 months ago to launch a consumer-facing short-term let business – Kippsy.

Now this would not be the place to wash my laundry about Kippsy, but a shorter version of events would conclude that we were unsuccessful in gaining meaningful revenue traction and subsequently, second round funding tanked.

Facing my first business failure was tough; more so as previous ventures had always triumphed, albeit some may have taken longer than the original plan. The humbling experience of failing has helped me toughen up my advice in my Start-Up Column. So already I hope that there is a benefit to others from my loss.

Since closing Kippsy a couple of months ago, I have been extremely fortunate to find another start-up gig – NeonCandi. While I enter a tad behind the founding team of Grant Petterrsson, Stuart Broadhurst and the architect Scott Anderson, I am still joining in the crucial initial phase.

NeonCandi provides a solution to brands seeking to integrate with publishers natively by distributing articles, video and custom content. The company also offers amplification services, which enables an audience of composition and size to suit any budget.

Notably, NeonCandi.com is the UK’s first premium native advertising business, so the calibre of publishers is second to none, which is crucial as one of the main drivers of native advertising is the integration of branded content into a quality environment.

Despite opening myself once again to the huge demands of start-up life, which I wouldn’t have enough space to list here, I am once again back in my element. I therefore asked myself the simple question, why?

Firstly, I thought it was simply that I must be a glutton for punishment and releasing the grasp of some karmic debt from a previous life of luxury. Or am I a passive masochist? But I soon concluded that it was the combination of new challenges, plentiful blue sky together with the rejoining the digital advertising business that drew me back.

So what is there to love about digital advertising? Everything! For me the key attributes are speed, scale, intensity and openness of a business and its community that thrives on innovation and change. Those characteristics create a marketplace that has open borders. And looking back at my short holiday away, I expected the digital consumer world to be as adaptive and willing to uptake new models, but it’s not. Now that wasn’t the only business oversight of Kippsy, but it didn’t help.

So if you have not had the pleasure of working in digital advertising, and you are searching for a more challenging career, check it out. And if you, like me, made the mistake of leaving, please please please, come back soon.

And if you are thinking about launching a consumer based business, give it some thought and at least experience it before you take that plunge.

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