By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
With 30,000 users signed-up during its Beta period, a start-up founded by a speaker at the 2015 “Startup Day Knoxville” celebration is ready for a full-fledged launch.
“We are exiting our Beta right now and are fully going to market in a month,” Eric Meyerson, head of marketing for Sensai, told us during an interview yesterday between three separate workshops on social media at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC). The company, founded about 13 months ago by Angel Gambino, is a platform built on artificial intelligence (AI) and designed to enhance social media impact for its users.
Marketing and social media are topics Meyerson knows well, having served in a variety of roles leading marketing efforts at global brands like YouTube, Eventbrite, Facebook, and Google. That said, Sensai is his first start-up experience, but something he obviously relishes.
As Jonathan Sexton, KEC’s Chief Operating Officer, explained, Meyerson came to Knoxville for “Innov865 Week” and is covering his own travel costs. Ironically, it’s his first trip back to the region since his parents visited Gatlinburg on several occasions when Meyerson was younger.
“I’m here to talk about Sensai, but I also want to hear the struggles entrepreneurs and makers are having with these (social media) platforms,” he explained.
That customer feedback started on Sunday when Meyerson was one of the speakers at the “Maker City Summit.” He’ll also be a judge at this afternoon’s pitch competition during “Startup Day Knoxville.”
Explaining that it is challenging for entrepreneurs and makers to find customers and fans “without breaking the bank” in terms of their marketing budgets, Meyerson said that Sensai integrates data from four social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube – to provide “actionable guidance for our clients.”
He characterizes it as a never-ending challenge to stay ahead of the competition and in front of individuals.
“Whatever (social media) playbook they (our customers) have is out-of-date,” Meyerson explains, adding that individuals “can’t see what’s behind the algorithm. We have created (in Sensai) a product to make your social media faster and more effective.”
Sensai is actually a spinout from another company that started as a product for musicians. “Emerging artists are those we’ve had the most success with,” but Meyerson says it’s really a tool for small businesses like retailers and service and goods providers.
During his time here, Meyerson says he’s been impressed with the region and the creativity, energy and entrepreneurial spirit of the individuals he’s met. “It’s been exciting to meet people with the level of creative energy,” Meyerson says, ‘adding, “Having a great university in a community creates vitality.”
Here are some pictures from one of Meyerson’s workshops at KEC.