Monday, February 25, 2013
EngageClick Redefines User Interaction in Advertising Multimedia
It appears the sky is the limit for the Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley (CMU-SV) alumni team behind EngageClick, a startup with a disruptive approach to human engagement with multimedia content. In a few short months, EngageClick has raised its Series A funding, acquired paid marquee customers in the United States, Asia and Europe and settled into headquarters in downtown Palo Alto.
Co-founders Manoj Rajshekar and Shekhar Deo, both graduates of the Silicon Valley campus arrived at CMU-SV with a raw idea for EngageClick having defined a pain point around the lack of strategy behind elucidating human engagement with advertisements. The idea matured at CMU-SV through support from faculty and courses like “Entrepreneurial Finance.”
“We learned how to take a raw idea and build a business out of it. We both came from a strong technology background but did not yet know to successfully market an idea,” explained Rajshekar.
“The team was able to take an idea and apply the skills they acquired in the MS program at CMU-SV to quickly and effectively jumpstart an Enterprise Software company,” praised Ravi Thomas, an adjunct professor at CMU-SV and current CFO/COO at EngageClick who advised the team throughout their time on-campus. EngageClick also counts Dr. Pradeep Khosla, former Dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering (CIT) as an investor and close advisor.
EngageClick is a human engagement platform whose key differentiator is its ability to be extended to all different levels of human interactivity. By defining the science behind what receives more attention from people, EngageClick takes any static media and makes it interactive in order to provide the most value to its clients.
“We named our product, EngageClick, because we wanted to build better engagement for users in the online world, with any content they consume,” said Rajshekar.
EngageClick is now attaining traction in the publishing, advertising and security ecosystems. Rajshekar notes that key milestones were gaining EngageClick’s first paying customers, raising its seed funding in the first seven months and, most importantly, producing satisfied customers. “I think we were successful at raising our money relatively quickly as our product is unique and really addresses a need in the advertising world,” said Rajshekar.
Having experienced the startup lifecycle numerous times prior to launching EngageClick, Rajshekar hopes to encourage and advise current CMU-SV students who are working toward building their own company. “Believe in the value of your ideas. Network as much as possible. Leverage your Carnegie Mellon education. The strong name of CMU will get you in doors.”
The EngageClick team’s success has been recognized by CMU-SV in both ceremony and in practice. Rajshekar and Deo were honored with the the Dean’s Return on Education Award at Commencement 2012. The award recognizes graduates and recent alumni who have successfully taken their CMU educations beyond the classroom by advancing their careers, contributing to their companies and inspiring others to do the same. CMU-SV also recently deployed the EngageClick platform in its online marketing efforts.
Moving forward, EngageClick looks to expand their team and customer acquisition. In the long term, EngageClick hopes to be the key differentiator for making advertisements more interactive and engaging, thus adding value to the customer.
Since graduating from CMU-SV and launching EngageClick in May 2012, Rajshekar and Deo have put in countless hours building a business from a raw idea but wouldn’t have it any other way. “It takes a different mindset to be an entrepreneur; there are a lot of ups and downs,” said Rajshekar.
“But at the end of the day, this is something we’re passionate about. We love to solve problems and that’s part of the fun of working in a startup. Every day we come across challenges to overcome and actually see results. When you solve a problem, you just get that ‘wow’ feeling.”