tPC Member Spotlight - Chris Brownridge of Discovry

Discovry is a growing startup based out of Seattle. The Discovry platform creates value between the world's premier performance advertisers and the influential creators. Founders Chris Brownridge and Andrew Allison are bringing user acquisition expertise to the influencer (think YoutTube celebrities) marketing space.  The aim to help performance advertisers extract value from their influencer advertising, while supporting the creator community with high value content.  You can see an example of their implementation below. 


In this example, the team helped artist Juan Andres de Corte create a sponsored video to drive downloads of the game Mobile Strike.

 

Discovry founders, Chris and Andrew met in San Francisco and recently relocated to Seattle. This month, we caught up with Chris to learn more about his background, how Discovry began, and how he is enjoying his time in Seattle.

How would you explain Discovry to your uncle who knows nothing about modern advertising?

My uncle works for Land Rover in the auto industry so I'd have to tie it to that. It's like Land Rover asking the F1 driver Lewis Hamilton to drive the new Range Rover and review it. 

You work with some pretty unique influencers.  Who are some of your favorites?

We see some weird and wonderful folks. It's amazing what draws an audience on YouTube. About the most perplexing to me is a gentleman who scratches off lotto scratchcards on camera - he has developed an extremely loyal audience and now people seem to look forward to the suspense of watching him win/lose each video! Personally, some of the coolest ones we have worked with are cooking & baking channels - I like cooking and it's incredible what these channels create in a short period of time.

 

What are your and Andrew’s backgrounds and how did you get into this industry?

We both worked together at a startup called Vungle in San Francisco - both of us started there when it was a tiny company under 10 people and by the time we left over 3 years later it had grown to around 190 people worldwide. At Vungle we were working with game developers helping them acquire new players through in-app advertising - now we are working with the same customers again but helping them acquire new players in a different way than before: through branded content on YouTube.

Late last year you were walking around with a VR headset and working long hours on another idea.  Did that morph into Discovry, or was it more of a blow-it-up-and-start-over than a pivot?

Well, the name morphed into DiscoVRy! That's about all that morphed though - I'd say it was a blow it up and start over type thing. I think VR is great and will be a massive industry but it was (and maybe still is) too early. There realistically won't be mass market adoption for a while and any business needs to be extremely well funded early on to ride the wave until the userbase gets to a point where you can make money from it. The idea for Discovry came about at Christmas last year when Andrew and I were having a few beers in London and it quickly turned into reality as we signed customers quicker than I think we imagined we could!

 

 

Where do you see the company in August of 2017?

12 months seems a long way away! We are only around 6 months in so far and it's been a real roller coaster. We are looking to hire our first team members right now and I'm hoping that by 12 months time we are a bigger team. Hopefully the business growth will continue to necessitate that. So far we have been hustling to put things together and managing the business in a ton of Excel sheets, by this time next year I'm hoping that we have built some technology to take us out of Excel sheets and allows us to scale much quicker.

You and your wife just purchased a house in the area.  How is home ownership going?

It is our first house purchase so we are embarking upon home ownership for the first time; it presents a whole set of different challenges to just renting! We were used to just calling the landlord when things went wrong or we needed a repair. Now we have to do it ourselves! Luckily there are a ton of YouTube influencers with 'How-To' channels that I've been learning some DIY from!

What are some of your favorite things to do around Seattle?

We try and get out and about as much as possible. We live in West Seattle so we have some great trails for running and biking down in Lincoln Park. We also love to kayak and both Alki and Lake Union are great for that. We're still (relatively) new to the area so are still figuring out what we like to do and what is around - we can definitely do a better job of getting out of the city on the Eastside to hike etc. And of course skiing when the season comes around! 

What’s one thing you miss most about England?

Friends and family definitely. It's hard being so far away from home and it's even tougher for us because my wife's family is away too so we do not have any family nearby. We don't have kids yet, but I think that it might become more difficult when we do and we don't have built in babysitter grandparents nearby! (I also miss the pub - there are no pubs in the USA like we have in England!)

 

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How many times have you had to talk about Brexit in the past few months?

Haha - A LOT. In the few weeks after the vote I felt like I was asked by everybody what I thought about it. It actually surprised me how much people seemed to be interested in it. I won't say much else for fear of starting a political debate in the office, but I did vote to remain (and my parents voted to leave!)

You worked in the Bay Area previously.  Seattle’s obviously a much smaller startup scene, but are there any advantages to being based in the PNW?

I think there's a lot of advantages and that's why we are seeing so many Bay Area companies open up Seattle offices and Bay Area natives move up to the area. For starters, the obvious is the cost of living. It is significantly cheaper than the Bay Area for the employee; property is a better value (my wife and I were paying $3,500 rent per month for a 1 bedroom apartment in SF!), general everyday living costs are cheaper, and the tax rate is far more favorable to the individual with no state income tax. For an employer, this means that human resources can be cheaper than the Bay Area. There is a large talent pool in Seattle with some of the largest tech companies in the world headquartered here - and hopefully a lot of talent ready to jump into the startup world. I think there is more of a risk averseness in the PNW compared to the Bay Area but with some more local startup success stories I think we will see that change. In SF it feels like everyone has a friend that made a fortune from a startup blowing up; it's definitely less common in Seattle but as soon as those stories become more common I think we'll see a lot more people prepared to make the jump!