Q&A with Haileo CEO Himawan Gunadhi

By Editor May 12, 2011

Haileo logo

Haileo offers visually-delivered advertising and ecommerce solutions and technology. The Santa Clara-based company was founded in 2009.

SUB: Briefly describe the services you offer.

Gunadhi: Haileo offers products for online advertising and visual e-commerce. These products establish intent of the multimedia content from visual context to help clients monetize their underserved inventories.

SUB: What is the technology behind Haileo?

Gunadhi: Haileo’s patent pending technologies utilizes visual context of the online digital content. The key capabilities of the technology include unsupervised learning of multimedia elements from vast and unreliable sets of data (web); advanced algorithms for automated and scalable processing of large multimedia data sets; innovative algorithms to understand images and videos and match their multimedia attributes; and detection and classification algorithms that use higher order relationships between content.

SUB: What is the value proposition Haileo offers to both advertisers and publishers?

Gunadhi: The value proposition for advertisers includes targeting ads using visual context of the images and videos, in addition to text; coverage expansion for advertisers beyond the traditional ad placements; an offering of branded performance ads that deliver higher return on investment and built-in brand loyalty by allowing the consumers to interact with the brand.

The value proposition for publishers includes the utilization of visual context of online digital content; monetization of under-monetized or non-monetized multimedia content; creation of new advertising opportunities using visual context; and increase in user interaction with content to improve engagement with the site.

SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?

Gunadhi: There are many companies claiming expertise in understanding multimedia. However, most of them are using human resources to tag images and videos and some are trying technology. Haileo technology can understand various dimensions of multimedia in an automated fashion that can scale for large volume and does not require human intervention. Some of the competitors in this space include: Pixazza, GumGum, SuperFish and Like.com.

SUB: How are you marketing your services?

Gunadhi: We are currently marketing our services through a direct sales force. We are engaging with some partners who will resell our services.

SUB: What is your business model? How does Haileo make money?

Gunadhi: We have two business models, one for advertising that includes revenue sharing and fee for service. And the other is for e-commerce that includes SaaS offering and enterprise licenses.

SUB: When and how did the idea behind Haileo come about? Was there a distinct “aha” moment, or was it a longer-term process?

Gunadhi: The idea came three years ago while the three founders were working on a prior venture together. We saw firsthand the problems of search and understanding user intent, and believed that if we could incorporate multimedia cues, we would go a long way to solving these problems. We had a deep understanding of the approach and algorithms needed to realize our vision.

SUB: What were the first steps you took to starting the business?

Gunadhi: The founders have considerable start-up experience between them and could have raised money early. However, we were uncertain as to what the best applications were for the technology we were developing. Thus, it was decided that we would bootstrap the company, stay lean, talk to as many prospective customers as we could, and rapidly prototype solutions that we believed met their needs.

SUB: Have you raised outside funding to this point? If not, do you plan to in the near future? If so, do you plan to raise more in the short term?

Gunadhi: Yes, Series A Preferred from a group of angels. Yes, we plan to raise a Series B later this year.

SUB: As an entrepreneur who has started a business in the midst of an economy that is still not completely healthy, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs just starting out?

Gunadhi: Believe in what you have and persevere most of all. Try to stay as lean as possible for as long as needed. Meantime, follow the “fail fast” approach of developing the product or service for the intended customer. Interact with customers. “Stealth mode” is over-rated!

Haileo – www.haileo.com