It’s a new year – a time when we all turn our focus to what we believe will be the Next Big Thing. In 2014, will it be wearable tech, self-driving vehicles, beacons, 3D printing – of body parts?
One thing is certain: in the past few years, New York has come into its own as one of the tech capitals of the world. We’ve built multi-million dollar businesses. We’ve moved the needle forward. But let’s face it: New York is the city that never sleeps, so whether we’re ringing in a new year or not, for us, it’s just another day, topped off with a bit of the bubbly. John Saroff, Chief Business Officer at Chartbeat, the real-time data analytics company, is here to fill us in on what’s on the horizon for them, come tomorrow.
Before we take a look forward, tell us about what 2013 was like for your company.
2013 was an incredible year for Chartbeat. We moved into gorgeous new office space in Union Square, we more than doubled our team’s size, and we launched a bunch of pretty excellent products.
As this year comes to an end, we’re proud to say that newsrooms all over the world use the new Chartbeat Publishing (launched in December) to make real-time decisions and get closer to their readers by learning if people have actually read the great stuff that writers write and creators create. We’re working with the industry to prove that publishing isn’t a business centered around blindly building traffic; it’s about building a real audience.
With Chartbeat Advertising product, which launched earlier this year, we’re closing the loop on the business side as well. Publishers’ ad sales teams, brands and agencies all use it to sell, buy, and track campaigns based on active audience attention. We’re helping to build and measure a more sustainable business model for the industry built on premium, engaging content.
What do you see happening to the New York startup scene in 2014?
A generation of NYC companies that started in the aughts such as Etsy, MongoDB, Foursquare and AppNexus will come of age and either go public or sell. That’ll bring the kind of attention the NYC tech scene has deserved for over a decade. It’s time for the NYC tech industry to move out of its own startup phase and prove that we’ve got the same caliber of established, successful companies that the Valley is known for.
3. What would you like to see happening in the New York startup scene in 2014?
NYC draws talented people to its “indigenous industries,” like fashion, media and finance. I’d love for tech to start edging into that conversation and become a destination (like San Francisco) for young graduates. Not just for engineers, though of course we need them, but for folks on the business side, too. Some of the most talented people at Chartbeat aren’t developers; they’re young, whip-smart, and want to better some aspect of the world they experience every day.
What impact do you think Mayor de Blasio will have on the startup ecosystem?
Time will tell. Mayor Bloomberg had a terrific impact on the startup ecosystem, by appointing folks like Rachel Haot to key roles in his administration and by spearheading the exciting project that is Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island. We don’t know Mayor de Blasio that well yet – he’s been tending to more important things – and we’re hopeful that he is as big a booster of technology as Mayor Bloomberg was.
Any advice for the new Mayor?
Reach out! We’re definitely not a shy crowd. Between the NY Tech Meetup and all the events and happy hours we startups hold, there’s no shortage of excuses to pop by, say hello, and partner with us on any and everything. NYC Tech is a place for great ideas to better our city and our government as a whole. The industry is young, idealistic and hopeful. It’s the absolute perfect place on which to build the 21st Century city. We at Chartbeat have no shortage of ideas on ways we can use data more powerfully to effect change across the five boroughs. We’d love to have you down to our office for lunch to share them, Mr. Mayor. Maybe we’ll even splurge for something other than pizza.
What are the most important strategic objectives for your company in 2014?
Chartbeat placed big bets in 2013. It’s not easy asking the entire media industry to change the way they’ve worked for decades — buying and selling ads based on audience time and attention instead of page loads — even if they’ve been asking for it forever and know it’s the right thing to do. 2014 is all about watching this spark of an idea catch fire across the entire industry. Valuing the best content on the web just makes sense, and I’m excited to work with our client partners to make it the right, sustainable model for the future of the media industry.
John Saroff is a longtime Manhattan resident and is the Chief Business Officer of Chartbeat, a real-time analytics company focused on helping online publishers build and monetize their loyal audiences.