In early January, Portuguese startup Full Venue announced the completion of a seed round with €2 million ($2.2 million) in investment funding.
A successful seed round means the company can expand its core operations team and increase its international presence. Equally important, investors are confident in one of the startup's new rounds focused on integrating artificial intelligence (AI) solutions into marketing and consumer optimization solutions. It shows that.
At the time, Full Venue CEO Tiago Costa Rocha used the seed round to reiterate the company's mission statement, saying: . With his unique approach of integrating AI and focus on simplicity for audience generation, he aims to revolutionize the way businesses monetize their audiences. ”
Full Vision's proprietary software aims to make it easier for businesses, in this case football associations and clubs, to monetize their digital presence. This is all done through AI segmentation. Effectively use AI to identify more potential consumer segments and expand your sales reach.
In an interview with GlobalData Sport, Costa Rocha said: “When I think about AI and everything on the brand and agency side, I end up thinking about something complex and I don't know what to do with it. I just want to add a small piece of AI segmentation. We are focused on a niche area that is very easy to use and not very expensive.”
The inexpensive nature of this service is an aspect of the business that Costa Rocha points to that will definitely drive the adoption of AI marketing solutions. “If you’re considering hiring a consulting firm to build your data science team, or if you want to hire data scientists and build your team in-house, why not join Full Venue and automatically start AI segmentation? It also costs much more.”
Full Venue also works with event companies such as the popular Primavera Sound and the MEO Mares Vivas music festival, but much of its focus is on sports organizations, primarily the national soccer governing body.
Costa Rocha revealed that while the company's first foray into soccer was not initially a deliberate initiative, the identification of a gap in the sports market enabled Full Venue to expand in this area.
“The technical team [at FAs and clubs] Every business in the sports industry is a continuous work and it has not developed that much because what has to be focused on is performance. [on the pitch]” he says. “So there was a place for a company like Full Venue to come in and provide real value.
“Our first client was the Football Association (FA), which was unintentional because they were participating in conferences where we would be exhibiting,” he goes on to explain. Of all the sports people involved, it was those from the Belgian Football Association who focused on our solution, which was just a proposed idea. ”
Full Venue currently partners with several football bodies, including Belgium, Wales and Romania, and growth in this area of the company's business is at the forefront of Full Venue's efforts to expand.
This business strategy has already paid off in terms of expanding into Europe's top football clubs, with 2020-21 Europa League winners Villarreal recently signing on as Full Venue's latest partner.
“What we want to do within the next year or two is to establish ourselves in the major championships in continental Europe and start doing business in the United States.”
Importance in the market
Costa Rocha previously worked for the Portuguese Football Association and several technology companies, and this combination of experience was key to promoting Full Venue in the sports market.
Full Venue was founded on the experience of the Portuguese FA, where opt-in rates for data analytics were much higher than average for other industries, and Costa Rocha saw the potential for new marketing solutions that could leverage this. I aimed it.
“In the sports industry, [consumer] Fans love when they get good communication from the brands they love. That was one of the reasons why I left the Portuguese FA and started Full Venue. It occurred to me that all these clubs and their FAs need this recognition. ”
“So you have the data, and that data is from the brand, so even if you have a third-party company managing the entire technology stack; [data] It's yours. Therefore, it is also important to manage within clubs and the FA. It is important for the sports industry to examine this data, apply intelligence, and communicate the right message to fans at the right time. ”
He added that the commercial nature of the sports industry, where the line between fan and consumer is blurred, makes the potential for AI segmentation in marketing more realistic.
“We have the advantage of having an industry that everyone loves. If you get a message in the mail from your phone company, you don't even look at it, but if you get a message from a club promoting their favorite product, If you have, you've probably seen it more than 10 times.”
The company has already started applying its proprietary AI solutions to commercial, ticketing and merchandising aspects to help drive revenue growth for FAs and clubs.
Seed rounds and the future of AI
Costa Rocha has already developed plans for a seed round of funding, the allocation of which will be key to its expansion goals. He said that expanding the company's current portfolio of sports partnerships and developing unique products are the key objectives of the funding round, and that the expansion of the company's current operating team is an important precursor to this.
Costa Rocha explains: One of these is product development, [to] We're building this democratic product open to everyone within the marketing industry for the industries we work in to improve marketing outcomes using full venue AI segmentation. ”
“On the other hand, from a business development perspective, we also want to achieve partnerships with the biggest sporting events in the world and host the biggest music festivals. We need people for all of this, so how many people do we need?” It's not going to be huge and we want to be rigorous about how we hire, but the goal is to build this path to commercialization over the next 12 to 18 months. is.”
Clients already have data about impressions from their own digital channels, but Full Venue AI generates models to increase a variety of metrics, for example sales and impressions, and supports recommendations from marketing teams, Google, etc. Generate new potential targets for advertising software platforms. Advertising or MailChimp.
This is a technical feature that Costa Rocha believes will become even more popular as the FA and clubs adopt cheaper and more efficient marketing methods.
“Ultimately, Full Venue will be in the middle, helping marketers with their marketing.” [regardless of] Is that on the brand side or is it on the agency side,” he says.
“There's no point in marketing when you have all this information, because you have to focus on the data. Once you have the data, let's put intelligence behind it.”
The software takes advantage of what Costa Rocha sees as an area that football has not yet fully caught up to, but which will become extremely important in the future.
“Everyone needs to take advantage of the power that AI provides to understand who their audience is and who they are watching. [consumers] It’s engaging with you and starting to communicate,” he says.
“We believe that in three to five years, digital marketing campaigns will no longer target unknown audiences.”
Costa Rocha believes that in a few years, “everyone will be exposed to AI, at least for marketing purposes.”