Creative Bot was among the 1st 10 startups selected to join the Qatar SportsTech program. Following the program, the Creative Bot team has managed to secure a pre-seed follow up from our partners at Qatar Development Bank and has recently succeeded in securing a deal with Los Angeles’ Memorial Coliseum. We have met with Benjamin, the co-founder of Creative Bot, to know more about their progress since they graduated from the program.
Tell us something about you and how you started Creative Bot.
My name is Benjamin Benichou, and I’m the co-founder and CEO at Creative Bot. Before starting Creative Bot, my co-founder and I ran our own creative agency (then Be Street now UNRTD™) for more than 12 years. We first started out in Paris but in 2015 we moved our headquarters to Los Angeles. We’re both passionate about customer experience in the digital era, and in 2016 we started to think about moving to the consulting space to creating our tech solution. We did some interesting experiments using chatbots to engage with audiences 1-to-1 at scale and saw some exciting results. By 2018 we established the company and decided to focus on a specific niche of customers, sports fans.
What pain point are you solving, and how?
Sports organizations (clubs, leagues, and events) are amazing brands with huge audiences on their social media platforms. The problem is they are still focusing on less than 1% of their fan base, the season ticket holder. Sports fans are extremely engaged and can now interact with their favorite team anywhere, any time. Still, sports teams don’t have an optimized pipeline in place to capture these fans, understand them, and ultimately generate more revenue. At Creative Bot, we developed an all-in-one solution to enable 1-to-1 conversations at scale, between sports organizations and their fans, on any digital platform. Not only do we automate meaningful conversations at level, but we provide the team with the right set of tools to get most out of out.
What are your challenges with Creative Bot?
Our main challenge is customer adoption. Sports organizations are not the most tech-savvy in regards to fan engagement. They’ve been leveraging data and analytics to enhance athlete performances and the drafting process for decades now, but the actual digital transformation is just getting started. The most prominent organizations also have legacy partners that can make the process of adopting a new technology provider more challenging. So far, we’re very thankful to have some of the best organizations in the world willing to give us their trust.
Any recent progress and achievements?
We just had our world premiere at Los Angeles’ Memorial Coliseum for the second to last game of the season for the Los Angeles’ Rams football team before they move to their new stadium in 2020. The whole project was about transforming the video boards within the stadium through an interactive SMS conversation with over 60,000 attendees. Our goal was to delight the fans with a unique experience leveraging direct messaging (no need to download any app!) and generating and qualifying opt-ins for the Ram’s future marketing campaigns. Every time our interactive experience went live on the screen, fans jumped at the opportunity to participate, increasing opt-ins by 30x of the game average.
What are your goals for the next year?
Get to product/market fit and on-board dozens of new customers! Keep learning from them, and keep working on getting the product right to ensure it delivers meaningful results at an instant.
Tell us more about your current team.
We have the perfect combination of creativity and technical skills. We’re now a team of 7, fully remote, with half of the team based in France and the other half in the United States. Jonathan Gueron, the former co-founder of the conversational marketing platform iAdvize (the leader in Europe), has stepped in as our CTO, and we also plan to hire more key employees in the coming months.
What was your experience with the program? Any highlights worth mentioning?
I have nothing but good things to say about the Qatar SportsTech program. We signed up to have the opportunity to connect with the Supreme Committee and work towards getting a contract for the 2022 World Cup and walked away with way more than that. We learned so much, built our network, and closed our pre-Seed round of $500K, with half of it coming from the Qatar Development Bank as a follow-up investment from the program.
What practical advice would you give to first-time entrepreneurs who have a business idea but do not yet know how to turn it into a reality?
I feel that nowadays, there is no excuse not to turn any business idea into reality. And I don’t mean setting up the company, hiring staff and building a very advance product from scratch right away, because there are many ways to test your ideas, build an MVP, and see if it’ll stick. Talk to your potential customers, get a good sense of the market, and turn on an experimentation mode. Something else I would add is, when possible, during the very early stages, try and stay bootstrapped, especially if you are a first-time founder. This will buy you time and resources to achieve a few milestones before getting in front of investors!