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Pico.Buzz cofounder Asaf Nevo may be new to St. Louis, but his business is not new to the world. The tech company got its start in Israel, expanded to Europe, then recently broke into the US market by creating partnerships with sports franchises, music venues and other fan supported institutions. Now it’s come to the Midwest with the help of Capital Innovators as part of the accelerator’s Spring 2017 cohort. We sat down with Nevo to learn what all the buzz is about.
Tell us about Pico.Buzz.
Pico uses fan data to unlock new revenue channels for sports teams, music venues and more. We basically find content that people are posting on social networks during specific events like a game, analyze the data and provide revenue-driving communications channels. So much content is being posted during these events. Our technology knows how to take all of the content for the brand and actually convert it into meaningful action items.
What does that look like?
Say you post a selfie of yourself at Bush stadium while at a Cardinals’ game. Then you could receive a push notification from the Cardinals saying “Hey Andrea, welcome to the stadium! Here’s a coupon for a hotdog,” or something like that. It depends on how we analyze who you are.
So it’s about not just analyzing my behavior but also the context?
Exactly. The main idea is [that] it’s a set of tools. Every part of the tool does something a bit differently, but in the end, it is all about engaging with the team in the right spot at the right time to take advantage of the opportunity to better engage with you. Engagement could be just talking to you and making sure your experience is perfect, or if you need something, it could mean providing it for you. If you need to know when the next game is in order get better tickets, we will help you with that.
Since Pico.Buzz looks at fan data, are you a fan of sports or music?
Yeah. I’m really into rock and play the guitar and drums. I like the classics. Metallica and Tenacious D. I am always telling my wife when we have money she has to take me to a Tenacious D concert.
When did the inspiration for Pico.Buzz strike?
In 2013 I got married, and during my wedding, my wife and I figured out everybody was taking pictures of us the whole time. However, unless we encouraged the people to send us the picture right away, they wouldn’t. From there, an idea evolved into a photo sharing app for consumers. After raising some money and working in this sphere, we realized it’s very hard to be an app. It took almost a year to understand that working the consumer side is going to be very hard.
So we took the app and applied it to commercial events. It didn’t really work as planned. We struggled with it a long time and we realized the issue is not to convince people to post content because they are already doing that. I don’t need to educate them to do that. What I need to do is aggregate content in the first stage. In the second stage, I need to understand this content and what I can actually get from it, and in the third stage let clients use the content that is actually valuable for them. So Pico is an evolution of the product we had back in the day. It’s evolved with lots of struggling and lots of testing. In the end we got to this result that really works.
You launched and have clients in Israel and Europe. How did you hear about Capital Innovators?
The majority of our clients come from Israel and Europe, but we also have clients in the US. We wanted to expand into this market because the Midwest is so central and is close to Chicago. We’re a one-day drive away from 20 different markets. Trevor Tune, who is the Program Director, approached us and [the conversation moved forward from there]. We applied and followed the next steps and got in.
You haven’t been here long, just three weeks. Have you been able to see much of St. Louis?
We rented a place on The Hill and I am having the most amazing Italian food I’ve ever had. Maybe not in the amounts I would expect. I think in the last three weeks I have eaten at least 13 Italian meals. Everyone tells us to go to Anthoninos and we were like “Oh! We’ve been there. It’s just outside our door.”
I did see tourist places like the Arch and all that. I can’t say I’ve seen a lot. When I’m away from wife and kids, I am very focused on work.
Why the Midwest?
First of all, New York City and San Francisco sometimes get too noisy for startups. Besides that, the opportunities are here. There is so much deliberateness. The startup scene is so beautiful and exploding these days. It’s so fun to be a pioneer and to be part of something new. I think that’s why. Why wouldn’t we come here?
We came here to do business. This is a place that actually allows that. It’s part of Capital Innovators’ approach.