Kavita Shenoy is the co-founder of Voiro, an ad-tech platform that’s used by media houses such as Disney+ Hotstar and Sony Liv, and e-commerce major Flipkart to accurately deliver ads and increase their ad revenue. Voiro’s technology has been used to drive large-scale digital advertising for live events such as the Indian Premier League, the Oscars, and the Walmart-owned Flipkart’s flagship “Big Billion Day” sales. In March, Voiro raised $1.8 million in venture investment.
What is the primary problem in the ad-tech sector that Voiro is trying to solve?
Voiro helps media businesses sell ads more profitably. We’ve built a product that significantly cuts down the manpower, time, and effort needed to run an ads business, saving our customers tremendous costs. We manage revenue data for these businesses, offering actionable and data-backed insights to ensure they can sell better, price better, and deliver on their commitments without leaving any revenue on the table. Finally, we understand that time is money, and we make it easy for our customers to cut their billing cycles from weeks or months to a matter of hours.
How did you make a mark in the ad-tech market where products like Google Ad Manager already exist?
Voiro doesn’t compete with products like Google Ad Manager but we instead add value to businesses that use them or other ad servers. We add a layer on top of these ad servers to make workflows more efficient. We make it seamless to work with multiple ad servers, and we’ve built collaboration and data tools that use ad server data. We work with all of the largest OTT [over-the-top] players in India, and have expanded into e-commerce and telecomms because businesses across these sectors see ads as a lucrative low-effort source of additional revenue.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) is one of the biggest sporting events in the world. For half a decade, Disney’s Hotstar handled the digital advertising for the event in-house. Now, as Jio builds out its own live match-streaming, what do you think is going to be the biggest challenge for them?
Jio, as a new entrant in this field, has a lot of catching up to do. IPL’s biggest differentiator is scale, and conventional ad stacks will not work for this size of event. Everything they need for IPL will be custom-built over the next few months. Over the last few years, advertisers have grown accustomed to a certain standard of ad products, and this is something that Jio will have to replicate in a very short time. Finally, the task ahead for Jio has already been defined by the size of their bid for IPL rights [at $2.7 billion], and they will need to be incredibly efficient and data-driven to make a return on their investment.
What’s the next leg in digital advertising? Are there sectors beyond e-commerce and media eyeing the multi-billion dollar industry?
Telecomms. They want to take a bite out of the ad market. Indian telecomms giant Airtel, under the hood, has spent two years quietly cobbling together all their audiences across different platforms — their set-top box, phones, Wynk platform, Thanks app, internet connection, and landline. Today, they want to take a bite out of the already organized 6,500 crore rupees [$785 million] market in India. Just the Airtel ads unit will be a unicorn of its own. All they are doing is setting up their sales army to go to the same advertisement buyers — Dentsu, Madison, GroupM — who go to Google, Amazon, and others, and saying “I have these audiences.” So this has been the evolution of digital ads. We have followed this step by step, and they have to fit us on top to make sense of all this data.