For the next interview in our series speaking to technical leaders from around the world, we’ve welcomed Zack Rosenberg, CEO and Co-Founder at CatapultX.
Tell us about the business you represent, what is their vision & goals?
CatapultX was co-founded by two digital media and technology pioneers, myself and James Altschuler in 2019 to help brands and publishers engage audiences in a new way that integrates contextually relevant advertising with great media content in a non-interruptive and seamless way to maximize audience experience and performance.
Before CatapultX, James and I started a company called WatchFantom, which was a sports media company. We hired sports talk radio hosts from across the country, acquired the rights to independent sports leagues, and began generating over 600K viewers a day across social and our website after a few months. However, the income generated from this was low, but we did not want to add a ton of interruptive ads on top of our videos, so we created a product to insert brands into the video using new formats and smarter placements to achieve this goal. That product was called CatapultX, and it started to generate real income.
It wasn’t long before the product became more interesting than the sports media company.
The vision of CatapultX is to achieve the deepest level of understanding of video and the applications to monetize it. Our first product is on-stream, automated in-video experiences relevant to the content you are watching.
It offers 6.8X the attention metrics of traditional video and a 30% lift in brand awareness.
Can you share a little bit about yourself and how you got into the field of artificial intelligence?
I have played a key role in helping leading brands, agencies and publishers to unleash the power of revolutionary digital media and advertising technology solutions since 2006.
Prior to co-founding CatapultX, I served in key sales and leadership roles at Keywee (now Anyword), Buzzfeed, SmartBrief and WebMD. During my tenures at these companies, I was able to generate revenues nearing $100MM.
I have also helped lead the industry through his founding and leadership roles at 212, First Wednesdays and SixDegreesofZR. Through these efforts, I helped more than 50 people find jobs and many more through mentoring opportunities. I received my BA in Sports Management from Towson University and I am the proud father of 3 amazing boys: Chris, Ethan, and Ronan.
AI is a tool. When pivoting the business from a media company to a technology company we knew we couldn’t run ads in a video without knowing what the video was about. This led us to go deep down the rabbit hole about what AI was capable of and how to implement it. Then we could afford to hire experts and really scale.
What do your day-to-day responsibilities look like at your organisation?
The number one job of a CEO is to make sure the business stays alive. Next is to provide a north star for the company to follow. Third is to hire the right people to execute and fourth support them along their journey. But in actuality, it's running towards the person screaming the loudest.
Can you share some of the proudest achievements you've experienced in your career?
The percentage of companies who raise money is next to 0. Those who raise several rounds are even less than that. Starting a company like CatapultX has been my dream for as long as I remember.
Now we’ve grown, won awards, work with some of the biggest publishers and advertisers in the world. Proud is an understatement.
Which industries and processes do you see as the greatest opportunities for applying artificial intelligence?
Advertising and media. There is such a wealth of data and an industry focused on tiny improvements. What we are delivering is orders of magnitude above the status quo as we see ourselves as a data company first and an advertising company second.
What are the most significant changes you expect to see in business due to AI?
AI is a tremendous tool meant to help speed up the learning process. This is precisely why AI is so vital to what we do. It is our belief that the content you consume is more of a window into who you are than standard demographics.
In this instance, we use AI to understand the content in video itself and also use AI to see how the audience reacts, then pairing the two together to improve upon moments marketing. This is at the core of who we are as a business and what separates us from the pack.
Why do you think AI is the future of advertising and marketing?
The wealth and speed at which data is being created. Creative will always be human. Computers can’t be creative on their own. But placements, types, audiences, these things are moving fast and those who understand AI will be promoted and those who build it will be acquired.