Business Talk with Ellard Capiral, Founder and CEO of AdMov Marketing Solutions
Ellard Capiral has developed trailblazing technologies and founded three startups in his career, including his latest, AdMov Marketing Solutions. His career—a mix of entrepreneurial and corporate—spans nearly two decades, beginning at a young age.
Capiral aims for AdMov to lead in revolutionizing the advertising industry by integrating technology into the landscape.
Please talk about your experiences and background
My journey started early on—AdMov is my third startup. My first, called Edge.Media, happened when I was a first-year student at the Asia Pacific College (APC). It was the generation of Nokia phones; if you wanted something like a picture message or ringtone on your phone, you have to text a keyword and the telco will send you the content. Edge.Media was the first web platform wherein you select what you want and it gets sent directly to your phone. I was able to sell that to Singtel (Singaporean telco).
I initially wanted to develop games. I took a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, and systems software engineering. After studying games, I found that they are more on the artistic side, and I’m more on the logical side. That is why I ventured into software programming and application development.
I went into an internship in Trend Micro where I spent nine years before I started my second startup, MyGrocery.ph. It was the first online grocery platform, and it was too early. From 2011 to 2012, e-commerce was just starting to take off in other countries but not in the Philippines, so I had to close it after six months and went back to corporate. I became the Chief Technology Officer of CloudSwyft because I wanted to maximize my knowledge and experience in starting a company, and the best way is to join a different startup so you know how it happens from there.
Afterward, that’s the time I started AdMov around the end of 2016.
Can you tell us about AdMov Marketing Solutions and its services? When and how did it start?
The idea came about because of my child. He always rides at the backseat of the vehicle and he watches videos on his iPad but it was hard on his arms. I mounted it on the headrest of the vehicle, then I noticed he began to enjoy traveling, so I thought other people may also appreciate it. It hit me as well that roadside billboards and advertisements are too far, small, or concise because motorists only have 2 to 4 seconds to see it.
The initial roll-out of the product was just a video loop but now that we introduced the AI and the facial recognition feature, the contents of the video are now more personalized and hyper-targeted to each passenger inside the vehicle. We analyze your age, gender, mood. It can play happy videos if the viewer is sad.
What separates your company from others with similar services?
Aside from the personalization of contents, in terms of the company structure, ours is heavy on devs and technology, learning in the advertising industry. We are bringing this technical knowledge to change the advertising landscape. We don’t have biases so we are free to implement what we think is possible.
What are the challenges you have encountered and how did you deal with them?
Our platform is a mix of out-of-home and digital. Some companies have divided marketing groups: digital, out-of-home, TV, radio, print. When we approach them, they don’t know who in their team should talk to us. Some of the clients don’t know that we are the solution to their pain points, so it’s a mix of educating them, telling our story, letting them know of our service and how it would benefit them. It was our biggest challenge last year.
What can you say about the advertising industry in the Philippines?
More and more companies are starting to adopt technology because, in the past five years, the ones that have been affected by technology are print and TV. But now is the time for out-of-home. If you look at other countries, billboards are adopting cameras to measure the traffic to really have data on how many cars passed them by. We don’t have that here, and that is something I see we would be adopting soon.
Convenience stores and sari-sari stores also have the potential to adopt the technology. They’d want to analyze the people that come in and out of the stores as intelligence on consumer behavior.
How about the growth of technology in the Philippines?
In terms of adoption and knowledge, a lot of Filipinos are very much willing to learn, which is good because we need to scale up. AI is going to augment a lot of jobs, and I think there are good people that are trying to push the scaling up. I just hope that regulators are as fast as how we’re seeing the technology change. What I noticed is that when people get introduced to a new technology, their first reaction is fear and it hampers adoption—which is why we need to educate.
If you work in a corporate setting, what you learn is what your department needs. If you join a startup, you learn everything that happens in the startup because it’s “all for one, one for all.” If one department fails, everything fails. Everyone needs to be involved because what you do with the product affects everyone.
How would you describe the way you manage AdMov Marketing Solutions?
My biggest mantra in hiring is that I don’t hire for skills, I hire character. In terms of managing them as a leader, I focus highly on motivation. For me, if a person is highly motivated, then they will do great work for the company. How I do that is I try to align what they’re doing to what they’re currently interested in. One, they get to learn what they’re interested in; and two, they’re learning with motivation. There is a difference in output and productivity.
Also, I try to take care of the people, either in compensation or work-life balance. Each person has a target and deadline, but they are free to manage their own time as long as they deliver. From what I saw, if you give that flexibility, they actually deliver more because they will understand the value of what they’re doing. If they understand how each little task is affecting the success of the company, they’re more driven. If you take care of your employees, your employees take care of your clients.
This first appeared in the Philippine Primer Magazine’s August 2019 issue.