Analytics Company Clarivoy Sees Success

Analytics Company Clarivoy Sees Success, originally published in The Columbus Dispatch.

Every organization, it seems, has a poster child. In the world of technology-business incubators, Clarivoy stands as a success story for Columbus’ Rev1.

“We’ve been able to bring everything, from networking to service providers to access to seed funding,” to the company, said Tom Walker, CEO of Rev1, which until recently was known as Tech Columbus. “It’s so cool to see them go from two people to where they are now.”

The Clarivoy of today is a company that uses a proprietary computer program to determine the effectiveness of TV ads for clients and identifies which networks, shows and time slots are the most effective platforms for those ads.

The name itself is a mash-up of clarity and clairvoyant, designed to reflect the accuracy the company aims for in its reports to clients.

“We can tell advertisers when a TV spot airs, what led to website visits, to store visits, to sales,” CEO Steve White said. “We can triangulate, based on responses, what worked and what didn’t. And we also can tell advertisers if the same customer is watching other TV shows.”

Clarivoy’s use of in-depth analytics for a TV spot that will instantly tie together business and sales results “sounds like a great concept,” said Jason Parks, owner of digital marketing firm the Media Captain.

“Many advertisers prefer digital due to in-depth analytics that are available,” Parks said. “If TV ads can come close to offering the same consumer insights, businesses will be all for it. I can see advertisers hopping on board due to the novelty effect. Whether or not they stick around for a long time will obviously be based on the results that they see.”

The company was far different when White founded it in 2009 as a one-man operation.

“It was originally a digital (advertising) agency,” he said. “I sold my car to finance the company. I had a 2-year-old and 5-month-old at home, and it was near the height of the recession, but I really wanted to go out and do it.

“My wife has been a trooper,” he said.

By 2012, White was doing reasonably well but still working solo.

It was that year when an offer changed the direction of the company.

“A traditional agency approached me wanting to measure the effects of a TV (advertising) campaign,” White said.

Within a year, Clarivoy added its first employee, Matt Reid.

“When Matt and I realized that there’s $70 billion in TV ads and only 11 percent of them are accurately measured, we knew we had something,” White said. “Everyone says, ‘But isn’t TV dying?’ No. It’s not. We know that 96 percent of all video watching is on TV. What’s driving it is social media, ironically.”

The chatter on social-media sites about TV shows typically sends viewers back to watch programs, some of which they may have missed when they first aired.

White and Reid realized that they would need money and expert help in growing the firm after “we were stiffed $80,000 by a client,” White said. “That’s where Rev1 came in. I wasn’t willing to risk my family anymore.”

Reid reached out to Rev1, and Walker welcomed the fledgling firm to the technology-business incubator’s offices on Kinnear Road.

“It is hard to go it alone,” Walker said. “So we’re really trying to make collaboration and networking part of the facility. We’ve added a lot of partners in the past two years and brought in a ‘genius bar’ for people to hang out.”

When Clarivoy needed to raise money, the connections were there. When the company needed advice on back-office operations, the connections were there. And when the company began looking for clients, the connections were there, too.

“That was huge,” White said. “It’s hard to get in front of big companies — and we do it with the endorsement of Rev1.”

The first clients include Germain Automotive Group, M/I Homes “and some we can’t divulge,” White said.

“It’s a really good example of how the region comes together to help startups,” Walker said. “ They’ve been able to find great customers.”

Clarivoy’s revenue doubled from 2013 to 2014. While White declined to reveal exact sales figures, he hinted that “it’s a significant number, a milestone-type of dollar amount.”

Clarivoy’s head count has grown, too. The current five full-time staff and three full-time contractors led the company to move into a large space at the Rev1 headquarters from a much smaller space. The workforce is expected to grow to more than 16 employees by the end of 2015, which will push Clarivoy into a new office off the Rev1 campus.

“Once we outgrow this space, we’ll move out,” White said. “We’re on pace to do that by the end of 2015. I’ll be disappointed if we aren’t. It’s been fun. A lot of good lessons were learned here.”