• World Biz Magazine

ALBERT NIETO & JORGE POYATOS, CEOS OF SEEDTAG, INTERVIEW WITH TOP 100 INNOVATION CEOS



ALBERT NIETO & JORGE POYATOS, CEOS OF SEEDTAG HAVE BEEN SELECTED BY THE JUDGES OF WORLD BIZ MAGAZINE'S ANNUAL AWARDS TO BE RECIPIENTS OF THE TOP 100 CEOS IN INNOVATION AWARD 2021. THIS SELECTION FOLLOWS A STRINGENT PROCESS THAT EVALUATED OVER 40,000 NOMINEES TO SELECT THE EXCLUSIVE LIST OF 100 WINNERS.



Albert Nieto is an entrepreneur passionate about the digital world and converting ideas into actionable business. Equipped with a dual degree in economics and business administration, he possesses extensive experience in areas including sales, operations, strategy, and business intelligence. On a professional level, he worked as an Asset Manager in Spain and on a global scale until he decided to take a leap and join Google. After gaining instrumental expertise during his time at Google, Albert developed the motivation to seek new and more challenging opportunities in the digital market. This ambition led him to say goodbye to Google and start his own company: Seedtag. Six years later, Seedtag is the leadingContextual Advertising company in Europe and LATAM, and one of the most promising companies in the Spanish adtech scene. Today, Seedtag is made up of more than 220 employees in 9 offices across Europe and Latin America. Albert is part of Endeavo’s network network of entrepreneurs in Spain and is an active member of the startup ecosystem. He has also served as a business angel, advisor, and speaker in forums surrounding entrepreneurship.


Jorge Poyatos is an entrepreneur and an expert of the digital world. With his educational background in industrial engineering and a thesis in computational fluid dynamics, he decided to introduce a business approach to his career path. His professional experience merges areas including engineering, business development, and product innovation. After working as a consultant for Oliver Wyman in Europe, the U.S., and LATAM, he transitioned to Google where he became adept with the digital business sector. Eager to face new challenges and with a clear idea in mind, he decided to leave Google and embark on a new and exciting adventure: Seedtag. Seven years later, Seedtag is the leading Contextual Advertising company in Europe and LATAM, and one of the most promising companies in the adtech scene. Today, Seedtag is made up of more than 220 employees in 9 offices across Europe and Latin America. Jorge is also part of Endeavor’s network of entrepreneurs in Spain and often participates in talks and conferences related to technology and entrepreneurship.



"Innovation has been at the forefront of what we do since the very beginning of Seedtag. We built a product that did not previously exist and formulated it as the MVP for our company. A tag within images that would link to the product you were seeing in those images. From there we did have to pivot indeed, and every leap we have done as a company was due to several degrees of innovation."




It has been a year of strong growth at Seedtag, share with us some of the key milestones.

It has been an incredibly important year for us strategically amidst the global pandemic and a time of uncertainty. The company was financially healthy, which allowed us to weather the storm and reshift our focuses. In turn, we decided to take a more offensive approach rather than a defensive one. Instead of making cuts or letting people go, we decided to keep all of our employees and formulate plans of action in order to keep growing and come out stronger.

  • As part of this, we decided to acquire two competitors and explore inorganic growth opportunities for the first time. We secured AtomikAD in Italy and Recognified in Germany. We believe it was a very valuable decision that allowed us to begin 2021 bigger and stronger than ever before.

  • Seedtag also achieved significant growth in 2020 following further development and improvement of product capabilities. The company produced organic year-on-year growth of 25% even under COVID-19 impact, reaching revenues of $50m in 2020, and with a further 60% growth forecast for 2021 ($80 million). Additionally, the company increased its employee headcount by 65% since last year and is now operating with 220 employees globally.

  • In order to better reflect our growth and increased maturity within the market, we introduced completely new branding in April of 2021. Along with a new logo, isotype, and website, we expanded Seedtag solutions to build on the organization’s three main pillars that make up its full-stack contextual AI technology. The rebranding is designed to reflect Seedtag’s unique technology, range of formats, and its goal of becoming the global contextual partner for brands and publishers alike. We expanded our placements to offer a full suite of In-Content solutions, we are using our contextual data to help brands understand the contextual profile of their customers, and we’ve also reinforced our AI by integrating new computer vision capabilities.

  • In Q3 of 2021, we secured $40m in Series B funding. Led by Oakley Capital ($35m), the funding round also received support from Adara Ventures and All Iron Ventures. Series B Funding will be used to boost international expansion with a focus on the U.S. and further develop the contextual technology stack.

  • In the past 12 months, we have had multiple management hires that, combined with our former management team, were a great balance between external experience and in-house managers being promoted. Particularly, this September we appointed Raúl Lara as our new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). A recognized professional in the financial field bringing extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions.



Share with us some of the key innovations by Seedtag.


Innovation has been at the forefront of what we do since the very beginning of Seedtag. We built a product that did not previously exist and formulated it as the MVP for our company. A tag within images that would link to the product you were seeing in those images. From there we did have to pivot indeed, and every leap we have done as a company was due to several degrees of innovation.


We innovated to bring to life algorithms that can understand content like humans, using Natural Language processing for text and blending it with computer vision techniques that have a pixel-level analysis. We innovated to integrate ads within editorial content that seamlessly integrates with images using computer vision. We are currently innovating to aggregate data points over the open internet to give valuable insights to our customers in order to better understand their customer’s interests.



What is contextual advertising and why is it so important in modern marketing?


Contextual advertising is a form of targeted advertising in which the content of an advertisement directly correlates with the content of the website page the user is viewing. We applied AI to our digital advertising approach, developing our most advanced contextual analysis technology yet. Today, our algorithm has been learning for over seven years, enabling us to offer the most powerful contextual AI on the market. In an increasingly cookie-free and privacy-first world, having the lead in contextual advertising is incredibly resourceful for modern-day marketing. We present advertisers with an effective alternative to using cookies by targeting users based on their real-time interests.



"Seedtag offers a Contextual Full Stack technology: human-like understanding of the content, high-impact solutions, and real-time placement optimization (DPO, Dynamic Placement Optimisation) to ensure all brand messages are seamlessly integrated into the optimal content without the use of cookies."
"We think that the problem with cookies is not an issue with its technology but with its lack of privacy. We believe privacy concerns are here to stay – technology that doesn’t respect user privacy will not succeed."


Why does Seedtag stand out in the marketplace?


Seedtag offers a Contextual Full Stack technology: human-like understanding of the content, high-impact solutions, and real-time placement optimization (DPO, Dynamic Placement Optimisation) to ensure all brand messages are seamlessly integrated into the optimal content without the use of cookies. This proprietary technology, based on the industry's first artificial intelligence, analyzes online articles to optimize ad targeting. It is the only full-stack advertising suite on the market, enabling brands to build their advertising strategy around reliable data and display ads in the in-content placements that best capture users' attention. Thanks to exclusive publisher partnerships, Seedtag enables brands to extend their sponsorships to the digital environment.



In what ways is Seedtag elevating your industry?


As a company, we are making bold moves and strategic decisions to lead this industry worldwide. We have a global mission and will continue growing and challenging the market until our contextual advertising solutions are seen everywhere. To become the first choice in contextual partners for brands and publishers, you need to continue innovating and elevating the bar – we recognize this, always seeking to maximize impact as we combine brainpower and technology to take advertising into a new era.


Additionally, Seedtag offers a contextual Full Stack technology: human-like understanding of content, high-impact solutions, and real-time placement optimization, ensuring all brand messages are integrated seamlessly into the optimal content, cookie-free. It is the only full-stack advertising suite on the market, enabling brands to build their advertising strategy around reliable data and display ads in the in-content placements that best capture users' attention. Exclusive publisher partnerships allow Seedtag to also enable brands to extend their sponsorships well into the digital ecosystem.


Having the upper hand in contextual is important in a sector where more and more players are positioning themselves to meet the demand of internet users, authorities, and advertisers. By furthering the industry with our approaches, we help shape contextual advertising, as it represents a fast-growing share of the worldwide market.



"Relevancy and attention will become the true currency in advertising. Only the brands and solutions able to catch the attention of users in a privacy-centric way, while maintaining relevance, will survive in the long run."


Share with us some of the trends you are seeing in the advertising industry.


Predicting trends within such an innovative sector like advertising isn't easy, especially when you take into account what technology will look like in a mere 10 years. However, there are some clear directions that we believe will become evident over the next few years:


Media consumption across the globe is increasing over several digital platforms, and this will only keep growing. The more time we spend online, the greater the share of investment for digital advertising there will be.


Relevancy and attention will become the true currency in advertising. Only the brands and solutions able to catch the attention of users in a privacy-centric way, while maintaining relevance, will survive in the long run.


We also foresee an increase in market duplicity. On one hand, we’ll have the ‘walled garden’ platforms led by Google, Facebook, and soon Amazon. Alternatively, we will have an open Internet that will be very relevant in terms of time spent but will have high challenges of addressability. Seedtag is moving toward becoming one of the key players here to help brands win the attention battle in a privacy-first world.



How does Seedtag view the increasing privacy demands of consumers?


Our view is that the advertising industry should not fight the increasing privacy demands of people but embrace them and open a new era where privacy is granted on the web. Contextual targeting, using the AI technologies available today, is the most scalable and respectful solution that exists. We are proving that, from a performance point of view, it can be even more effective than audience targeting if it’s done properly. Our approach to contextual advertising is holistic. It goes way beyond targeting. We believe the opportunities for ad integration, design, and optimization are as big as the opportunities for targeting itself. We are rethinking how brands can effectively find and engage with people on the open web, based on their real-time interests on a cookie-free basis. We want to be a “contextual full-stack” partner for them.


We think that the problem with cookies is not an issue with its technology but with its lack of privacy. We believe privacy concerns are here to stay – technology that doesn’t respect user privacy will not succeed. Google recently announced that it was not willing to integrate personal ad IDs of any sort as an alternative to cookies because the problem would remain. Contextual targeting using the NLP (Natural Language Processing) and AI algorithms available today is not only an alternative that is ready and can work at scale, but it’s also proving to be as effective as audience targeting was.



Why is Seedtag's unique approach crucial at this time?


Our viewpoint is that the advertising industry should not fight the increasing privacy demands, but embrace them, initiating a new era where privacy is granted on the web. Contextual targeting, using the AI technology available today, is the most scalable and respectful solution that exists. We are proving that, if done properly, it can be even more effective than audience targeting. Our approach to contextual advertising is holistic – it goes way beyond targeting. We believe the opportunities for ad integration, design, and optimization are as big as the opportunities for targeting itself. We are rethinking how brands can effectively target and engage with people on the open web, based on their real-time interests on a cookie-free basis, and want to be a “contextual full-stack” partner for them.


We believe that the problem with cookies is not a tech-related issue, but simply a privacy issue. Privacy concerns are here to stay, and tech that doesn’t respect users' privacy will not succeed. Google recently revealed it will not integrate personal ad IDs of any sort as an alternative to cookies, as the problem would remain. Contextual targeting using NLP (Natural Language Processing) and AI algorithms is not only an alternative that is ready and can work at scale, but it’s also proving to be as productive as behavioral targeting was, with ever-growing potential.



"A good leader is someone who not only empowers people to do their jobs, but also gives them the freedom to try, fail, try again, and succeed."
"A good leader also takes time to focus on company culture, ensuring the values, goals, attitudes, and practices of the company are truly shared by those working there."


How did Seedtag move forward after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic?


It was a very important year for us in which we decided to take a more offensive approach, rather than a defensive one. The company was financially healthy enabling us to weather the storm of the pandemic. Instead of making cuts, we chose to keep all of our staff and formulate plans of action to come out stronger.


We decided to acquire two competitors, exploring inorganic growth opportunities for the first time in Seedtag's history. We obtained AtomikAD in Italy and Recognified in Germany. We believe it was a solid decision, allowing us to kick off 2021 larger and stronger than ever before.


In terms of what we learned moving forward, we'd highlight how important it is not to lose long-term vision in times of turbulence. COVID-19 was an unexpected and difficult shock. Yet, in the long term, this wake-up call was beneficial for Seedtag, as an opportunity to reevaluate strategy, gain strength, and come out on top.



What drives you both as entrepreneurs?


Albert Nieto:

“With Seedtag, an opportunity emerged to take an idea and transform it into a revolutionary product that works. Seeing it do well these past few years helped drive that passion that one has as an entrepreneur. We've grown exponentially, now geared with a team of individuals who truly believe in what we do as a company. We put the clients first, understanding their goals and positioning ourselves so that we can help them succeed. All of this is key to sparking innovation and shaking the industry – we have a clear vision, backed by people who care.”


Jorge Poyatos:

“We've really pushed an agenda of innovation and opening new doors with our solutions at Seedtag. We started with an idea and nurtured it with brainpower and technology until we got something truly amazing. At the end of the day, we are the vehicle driving our clients' success, and that’s more motivating than anything. Having a ‘what’s next’ mentality is crucial, always pushing the boundaries and challenging the market. We're lucky to have a team of people that share the same growth mindset necessary to continue progressing in an ever-changing industry.”



What makes a good leader?


Albert Nieto: A good leader is someone who not only empowers people to do their jobs, but also gives them the freedom to try, fail, try again, and succeed. They are working together with the team and incorporating themselves to move things forward. Climbing the ladder of success doesn't happen alone. They provide a clear vision with collaboration from the team and, as a unit, progress to cross the finish line. There is ambition, motivation, communication, and courage.


Jorge Poyatos: A good leader is someone who fosters innovation within the organization, is open to new business opportunities and is able to capture them. Someone flexible enough to embrace market changes and perceive them as opportunities. A good leader also takes time to focus on company culture, ensuring the values, goals, attitudes, and practices of the company are truly shared by those working there. They also offer transparency to their team, being open and honest so everyone has the same vision of where the company is going and what we're doing to get it there.



"The future of Seedtag is growth and innovation. Contextual advertising will continue developing in the coming years, and the beauty of this industry is that it has a big, growing market without a clear global leader. Filling those shoes is our next objective."


What's next for Seedtag?


The future of Seedtag is growth and innovation. Contextual advertising will continue developing in the coming years, and the beauty of this industry is that it has a big, growing market without a clear global leader. Filling those shoes is our next objective, and, with our product, we believe we present the best option for brands, publishers, and agencies to navigate the contextual universe.


In terms of geographical expansion, the U.S. market is integral to leading on a global scale, hence our plans are already underway to commence operations in the coming months. Both organic and inorganic openings are options, mainly depending on the price-to-quality ratio of the targets we identify. It's an exciting new journey, and we're looking forward to making the strategic decisions necessary to make it successful.



Seetag is a global leader in contextual targeting and creativity.

www.seedtag.com