Estonian startup ResultsOnAir shaping the TV ads market – interview with the founders

ResultsOnAir is the newest member of #EstonianMafia and the founders of the company have an ambitious plan to shape the direct-response TV advertising (DRTV) market with their analytics service. To learn from the very best, they successfully applied to one of the most famous startup accelerators, called 500 Startups. Brit Tammeorg met up with the founders Cristo Pajust (CEO), Kristo Peterson (CTO) and Kristel Tuul (CMO) just before the start of their intensive four-month programme in Mountain View, California.

What does ResultsOnAir offer to its clients?

ResultsOnAir is a predictive TV analytics that helps brands and their media agencies understand which direct-response TV ads bring the best results. Direct-response TV advertising means that consumers are expected to respond directly to the company, eg by visiting a web site.

Our company measures every second when the TV ad is on air and the reaction that follows by the people who saw the ad. Then we combine the traffic of your website with the call to action in your TV ad and a thorough report is generated. This is how our clients are able to make data-driven decisions and get better results on their investment.

Our goal is to help brands and their media agencies better plan their marketing budget. Our business is not about helping increase the marketing budget, but to optimise future campaigns.

You seem very sure this is what your clients want. What is your confidence based on?

We believe that every startup should build its business together with its clients. Thanks to our first client from the United Kingdom, with whom we started to develop the service, we know what it is exactly that our clients need to make better marketing decisions. We do not waste time on developing something that only a few clients like or what no one really needs. We are interested in offering solutions to real problems and the only way to do that is together with our clients.

Our confidence comes from the market feedback that has been nothing but encouraging. It is great to start off from a small country like Estonia. We were able to speak to almost all local TV ad agencies in a short period of time. Everyone we talked to were glad to tell us how they plan their TV ads and what information is missing.

Talking about the team behind ResultsOnAir – who are you and how did you get to know each other?

We are a team of three not-so-typical Estonians. Cristo Pajust is the CEO and visionary with previous work experience from Europe and Asia. Kristo Peterson has an international background in analytical marketing. After spending six years selling educational books door-to-door in the US, Kristel Tuul decided to put her knowledge into practice by managing the company’s marketing and sales.

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We got to know each other just recently and by accident. Kristo and Cristo (separately) decided to take part in a Garage48 hackathon event in Belarus. They met on the bus, worked together the whole weekend and after that decided to team up. Kristel joined the team 10 days after meeting with Cristo and Kristo.

What is 500 Startups?

500 Startups is a seed accelerator programme and related to an investment fund Dave McClure founded in 2010. One of the biggest benefits of going through the 500 Startups accelerator programme is having access to knowledgeable mentors. Startups will be working together in co-working spaces and receive help with distribution. 500 Startups also invests in all companies at the start of the programme.

ResultsOnAir is now among the 3-5% that 500 Startups accepts. How did you get selected?

Instead of focusing only on the business idea, 500 Startups is looking for strong teams who are 100% committed. They want to see people who are bold, believe strongly in what they want to achieve and are ready to work hard.

As soon as we found out we are among the top 100 and have a chance to make it to the final, we started contacting the 500 Startups’ wide network of mentors. Our intention was to receive as much advice as possible to be prepared for the final interview. Already then we were 100% committed and ready to take action.

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As a team we complement each other very well. Together we have experience and knowledge in the media, advertising, analytics, marketing and sales. We have previously worked in Europe, Asia and the US.

One has to realise that 500 Startups is not a school. No one will tell you what to do. It is you who has to work together with your founders and the accelerator programme is there to support you.

What exactly happens in the final interview?

The interview is surprisingly short and is done usually via Skype. We presented a couple of slides that we carefully prepared before and explained why we should be accepted to the programme. They had some questions about us and the way we were planning to scale.

It is never easy to briefly explain what your business is all about and what your goals are for the future. To be able to do so, we got in touch with one of the mentors, who is a pitching coach, and that was very helpful.

What will future bring to ResultsOnAir?

Our focus is on expansion to the US. As said before, we believe strongly in growing together with our clients, therefore sales is our number one priority.

During the next six months we would like to know what it takes to enter the US market and how long it would take. Every business has competition, so do we. Therefore we will keep monitoring their progress to make sure we are one step ahead.

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About the author: Brit Tammeorg

Brit Tammeorg is a Manager of Customer Success at the Estonian startup Plumbr, and a freelance writer.