A selection of senior adtech execs and agency leaders gathered recently at The Union Club in London’s Soho for the latest live Soho Sessions event, the Dragons’ Den style pitch event organised by New Digital Age (NDA).
The event format involves three adtech companies making 15-minute pitches to a panel of expert judges from leading media agencies, then conducting 25-minute deep-dive Q&A sessions with each of the judges in turn (and a selection of their agency colleagues).
Teams from adtech providers Quantcast, Lotame and The MediaGrid (part of IPONWEB) delivered their presentations to judges including Deborah Harper, Partner at Mindshare; Oliver Poulsom, Head of Audience Solutions at GroupM; and Sarah Baumann, Managing Director of VanyerMedia.
Explaining her motivations for taking part as a judge, Baumann said: “The Soho Sessions are right up my street for two reasons. I love innovation and seeing what new companies are up to so it was a brilliant way to be inspired and immerse myself in different tech and media solutions. I also love seeing pitches and the different ways people and organisations solve problems and tell the story of how they are answering a business or audience need.”
New Digital Age’s Managing Editor, Justin Pearse, believes that the popularity of the Soho Sessions format is testament to the strong desire among ad tech providers for facetime with agency leaders.
Pearse said: “The Soho Sessions bring brilliant adtech providers and agencies together in a way that maximises everyone’s time and effort, and fills a genuine gap on the market for this sort of highly focused meet-up. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. We first launched the event virtually during the pandemic but the element of having people back to pitch in person has given the last few Soho Sessions an extra electricity on the day that’s been really exciting.”
Life’s a pitch and then you fly!
The team from The MediaGrid at IPONWEB (Rob Greave, Sales Director; Jack Edmonds, Commercial Leader; and Tim Conley, Head of Client Services) were the first to pitch on the day. The MediaGrid is a tech solution designed to bring buyers and sellers closer together by enabling agencies to deliver supply side optimisation, curate inventory and futureproof supply strategy.
Responding to their presentation, Sarah Baumann said: “Mediagrid did a really interesting pitch and I liked hearing about the evolution of their business. The thing that really appealed to us, as VaynerMedia, is the way they were trying to rethink the traditional programmatic model and bring a more curated and premium approach. I can definitely see us wanting to explore their offering further.”
Mindshare’s Deborah Harper agreed that the MediaGrid team delivered a “really solid pitch”. She said: “Everyone knew their product offering really well and provided clear responses to specific questions. They have a very interesting proposition and something for our clients to consider.”
Lotame’s Alison Harding, VP Data Solutions EMEA and Ross McMillan, VP Commercial Solutions EMEA were next to face our panel, where they pitched Lotame’s Panorama IDTM addressability solution, designed to “keep the open web open”.
Baumann commented: “It was a great pitch by Alison and Matt. I was impressed by the scale of their operation, the way they’d thought round every angle. We spent a lot of time debating the issue of consent vs. scale and integrity of data and the idiosyncrasy of human behaviour cross platform and device. They included some interesting competitive data and had done their research on us too, which I liked. I can see the relevance and utility of Lotame’s offering to us in the future.”
Harper added: “Another great pitch. The team demonstrated a good level of detail and product knowledge and handled additional questions well. The benefit to brands was clear, making Lotame definitely one for further exploration.”
Quantcast’s team (Stephanie Keating, Sales Manager, and Alexis Wrightson, Lead Product Specialist) delivered the final pitch of the day. They explained how Quantcast Platform allows market participants on both the demand and supply side to simplify programmatic supply solutions through real-time audience and content insights at scale, including supply deals across display, video, and CTV/OTT.
Deborah Harper congratulated Quantcast’s team on a “really interesting proposition”. She said: “I enjoyed the presentation and the examples of how to apply this to real world activity.”
Baumann said of the Quantcast pitch: “I was delighted to see one of the companies zoning in on CTV – very exciting. Quantcast perhaps had the toughest job on the day as CTV/ OTT is undoubtedly the most unfamiliar out of the three areas that were being pitched and agencies are in the midst of educating clients and running trials. They did a great job setting up ‘why CTV’ which I thought would have been really helpful to brands.”
Would your organisation be interested in taking part in our next Soho Session? If so, email firstname.lastname@example.org to say hello and we’ll get back to you with the relevant details.