Meet the Leader

Rammohan Sundaram MD & SVP – APMEA, C1X Inc.

Transparency is a big issue in today’s digital world and while the pioneers like Google and Facebook have done their bit, we still feel those as being walled gardens given the source of information on which these businesses are built, originate from outside of these platforms and we are directly addressing the source thus by helping the publishers make a lot more money” Said Rammohan Sundaram MD & SVP – APMEA, C1X Inc.

In an interaction with MediAvataar India, Rammohan articulated about his new journey with C1X, which apparently is an exciting world of possibilities and endless charm in the digital arena. You think you know all about programmatic buying or not, this one is for you!

Here is the complete Q&A…..

MediAvatar: What does C1X stand for?

Rammohan: At Yahoo there were two types of inventories in display advertising, Class One and Class Two. Typically Class One was guaranteed as deliveries for the brands addressing a particular audience on prime properties and prime ad units and class two depended on a floor price set by the respective teams handling various audiences and communities, which was non guaranteed.

Guaranteed delivery was always on premium audiences and like I said prime properties like Front Doors (Home Pages, Mail Log In Page etc) are considered high value.

At C1X 90% of our staff whether business or engineering comes from Yahoo and we being the only hybrid exchange, offers the guaranteed delivery formula through our patent pending technology in an exchange environment. The term Class One has an abbreviation i.e. “C1” and “X” stands for the Exchange and hence the name C1X, which simply means “Class One Exchange”.

MediAvatar: Which are the markets, globally you are looking at currently?

Rammohan: We are very strong in the US, with offices across US and Japan given our Founders come from these two regions. In Asia and Middle East we have just completed our leadership hiring across markets and are now focused on building our strength in these markets.

MediAvatar: From a business point of view what do you think is that one adjective that defines your approach?

Rammohan: “Transparency” – This is a big issue in today’s digital world and while the pioneers like Google and Facebook have done their bit, we still feel those as being walled gardens given the source of information on which these businesses are built, originate from outside of these platforms and we are directly addressing the source thus by helping the publishers make a lot more money and bringing in massive efficiency by not only saving costs but by bringing in technology. We are playing a role that is defining when it comes to targeting, spill over or wastage and overall efficiency in a campaign.

MediAvatar: Whom are you targeting with this product?

Rammohan: Every advertising agency in the digital space, every brand marketer and people who want to get the fullest from their digital endeavours are our TG globally.

MediAvatar: Marketers who still are oblivious to the programmatic peak, what would be your business advice to them?

Rammohan: Programmatic is not rocket science, it is just a mechanism that brings in efficiency thus by eliminating any possible mistakes, through a single dash board that gives the power to the marketers who need to make those decisions to get the maximum ROI.

Ease of use makes every effort seamless and it is the future of media planning, buying and execution.

When a full stack operator like us comes in the value of that is visible immediately, we have seen several advertiser laud about the platform and we have seen tremendous traction in a very short period of time.

Marketers who are serious about their digital initiatives are learning by the day and are highly involved in ensuring their teams adopt to this wave immediately, we have seen high involvement from CMOs percolating right upto the operations executive and we are climbing the ladder steadily to ensure maximum adoption.

Lets be clear, marketers are not oblivious to the programmatic curve, it is the priorities of the organisations that play a role, E-commerce and Finance clients are very fast to understand it and they are our early adopters since they run their businesses with “digital first” as an approach, the rest do a catch up game but it is just a matter of time before everyone jumps on this bandwagon.

MediAvatar: How do you look at the competition? 

Rammohan: We have no competition, as in if you look at who else plays to the full stack story then you find no one, we are the only ones who are a DSP, an SSP, PMP and an Ecommerce Marktech solution provider in one single stack.

But if you look at the others who exists in the four pillars we stand on in isolation then everyone in that space is competition.

Depends on how you look at it, we look at it as no competition and we see that in our use cases with clients every day given the speed of adoption in the market.

MediAvatar: In this cutting edge and still evolving realm of technology, what would you label as your USP?

Rammohan: Like I mentioned, Ease of Use, Efficiency, Transparency and Value for money in one stack is our USP and it is working for us, which in itself is enough proof of the pudding.

MediAvatar: Imagine this programmatic situation- You serve a branding commercial to someone on his TV and follow it with a display or Facebook ad on his desktop or mobile device. Is this what you are also symptomatic of?

Rammohan: No, what you are talking of is cross functional device targeting and for that one needs to be some sort of an operator like a mobile operator or DTH Platform Owner or WiFi operator or have a solution for the above mentioned.

We have capabilities currently to perform cross device with mobile alone but we need to still evolve our offering and hence some time away, maybe six to eight months.

Programmatic is nothing but algorithmic purchase or sale of any digital advertising space that is available on the internet or mobile in a real time environment, typically is fully automated and non guaranteed inventory is on real time bidding.

MediAvatar: Is Mobile and Programmatic still a problem? Does your product address that matter?

Rammohan: No it is not a problem, mobile is just a platform through which you deliver a communication when someone is on the internet or through some gateway to the internet like apps and it is fully controlled through programmatic platforms like ours.

Yes we do have the product to address both desktop and mobile.

MediAvatar: You are a startup expert, with so many successful ventures under your belt what drove you to this company/product?

Rammohan: Success is a relative term so if I have to consider myself successful then I would be foolish, yes I do agree that I could be a start up expert having started off more than twice.

I have been in the adtech space for over 15 years now and I have not seen something like C1X before. Everything in one stack and highly effective to address every need of a marketer in the digital space so it was natural that when something like this came my way I didn’t have to think on whether this will succeed, the only thing I spent time doing was whether I wanted to involve myself since it requires a whole lot of your time and a lot of energy that any start up would need.

It took me 6 months to decide before I accepted this offer.

MediAvatar: One thing you wish you had known when you started off? 

Rammohan: Started off, as in, entrepreneur? If that is what your question is then, I would have ensured we thought out of the box to create some disruption with scale than just think inside the box of how good we could look within the space. 



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