Innovation Trek – Digital Marketing: Long Live the Click at Yieldbot

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It seems that every office I visit these days, big or small, somehow tries to mimic a “start-up” atmosphere. Open floor layouts, casual dress codes, and the customary ping pong table are used ever more popular in modern office culture. While these aspects may nurture open communication and an innovative atmosphere, one cannot understand the true start-up culture until they walk onto the floor of one.

I believe that to be true because this past Thursday, along with fourteen other Villanova students and faculty, I visited the advertising technology (ad-tech) start-up Yieldbot. I have been on the floors of Google and Facebook – the poster-children of modern office culture. I have seen the free food buffets, basketball courts, and themed workspaces. While these are awesome features to have in a workspace, they lack something that I found in abundance at Yieldbot’s New York office.

From what information we could gather from the internet, Yieldbot seemed be on the cutting edge of technology and consumer insights within the advertising technology space. They are a New York based ad-tech firm that lets advertisers buy display ads via search-style keywords. Yieldbot analyzes these keywords based on their intent and not just their literal translation – allowing advertisers to deliver relevant messages when intent is shown. It seems simple, but behind this capability is a robust technical framework unique to Yieldbot.

As we entered the office, we felt a buzz of hustle and optimism. We were welcomed with a full applause from the employees as we stepped amongst the dense clusters of desks and computers. To this day, I’m still not sure what we did to deserve that welcome. We were then lead into meeting room where we squeezed into every available seat and inch of free space. Being stuck in the back and next to the computer, I was given the esteemed honor of controlling the PowerPoint presentation – that counts as working at a start-up right? At the other end of the room stood Jaan Janes and Kevin Chaill (VSB ’98), the firm’s SVP of Market Development and CFO respectively.

Over the course of an hour, they ran us through an overview of the ad-tech space, Yieldbot’s business model, and their personal journeys. Andrew Perez (CLAS ’10) and Johna Paolino shared perspectives on their roles as well and even the CEO Jonathan Mendez popped in to give a few remarks. On a Thursday afternoon, the leaders of a rapidly growing company could have had million more important things to do. However, they could not have been more helpful and informative.

Never before I have I experienced such energy and enthusiasm. From the CEO down to new hires, everyone we met was passionate about the work they were doing and the company they were working for. Being in that environment, I know I would thrive. While they may not be my employer when graduate, I certainly hope to find the energy and enthusiasm I experienced at Yieldbot.