Manu Mathew, CEO of Visual IQ, is building a business based on advertising.
The company’s software measures advertising success by gauging things such as which audiences have been reached and what avenues are seeing the most success.
The company has about 200 clients including Walmart, Best Buy, Vanguard and H&R Block.
Visual IQ is in a bit of a transition right now, having been bought by Nielsen in early October for an undisclosed sum. Mathew says Visual IQ will be kept as a separate unit, and he is staying on as CEO.
The company was started in 2008 by Mathew and raised $15 million in venture capital funding.
Mathew said he felt there was a need because others were not really drilling down to get deep information, like what works well with each audience and what the results would be if dollars were shifted.
The approach appears to be bearing fruit: Visual IQ has its headquarters in Needham, Massachusetts, and offices in San Francisco, London, India and Germany.
Some of the credos for success that Mathew embraces are:
- Hire the right talent. It goes without saying that employees are the backbone of any company, especially one that grew and expanded to as many locations as Visual IQ did. Also, “Always find the smart folks on the product side,” meaning developers, Mathew said.
- Find the right partners. Any good business-to-business leader knows that it’s nearly impossible to get by without a little help. Choose and invest with partners that share a similar vision. Visual IQ, for example, cultivated a relationship with Facebook as one of its first measurement partners.
- Focus on your strengths. With technology constantly impacting what’s possible, it’s easy to get distracted. Staying focused on your mission is more important than ever, and Mathew believes playing to your strengths instead of following whatever competitors are doing is at the heart of any successful business.
The company also operates with values that include doing the best job for customers, innovating and having fun along the way. Visual IQ has casual Fridays at its headquarters where lunch is brought in for employees. “We try not to take things too seriously,” Mathew said.
His career advice is, “Talk to as many people in your field to learn all you can from them.”
Also, Mathew added, “Set up metrics for success measurement.”