Today, we are thrilled to announce the birth of Cogent, a simple idea that will make a profound impact on emerging MarTech companies and Marketing professionals. Tom Barbaro and I identified a gap within the MarTech ecosystem, and we knew it could be addressed through our network of professionals in the marketing industry and the many emerging technology companies we have met with over the recent years. Marketers today are facing many challenges, from COVID19 to the death of 3rd party cookies, privacy regulation, and the walled garden dominance. These challenges can seem overwhelming to anyone, but when someone looks to the Lumascape for a solution, it can make their head spin. It is estimated that there are nearly 10,000 MarTech companies in dozens of sectors. Surely there is a solution for everything, right?
We have identified many problems with how the MarTech ecosystem works today. Marketing professionals have limited resources and time. They can’t possibly be expected to evaluate every solution claiming to solve whichever problem they are dealing with at the moment. Emerging MarTech companies are focused on developing solutions, not crafting sales pitches, so they aren’t always cogent. Marketers can’t afford to take risks on unproven solutions from people they don’t know. Emerging MarTech companies are finding that the VC well does run dry at some point. They need to find profitability faster than they did five years ago. Most Marketers and their brands don’t have the innovation resources that the large brands have, so no one is dropping solutions on their desks. Many emerging companies don’t have the network necessary to run enough pilots to get their businesses humming, even when their solution is revolutionary.
Throughout our careers, Tom and I have had the experience of interviewing with emerging companies who needed experienced and well-connected sales leaders. But many of them didn’t yet have the capital to afford senior sales leadership, like us. Some of these companies had exciting products that we would have loved to talk about every day with the Marketers in our network. Cogent is dedicated to helping emerging companies like these achieve their full potential by offering them the services they need to grow their businesses to the next level.
Tom and I have worked together for the better part of 10 years. From 2012-2016, we were coastal counterparts at Criteo. I managed the West half of the country while Tom managed the East. In total, I spent six years at Criteo, and Tom was there for five. When we started, Criteo was an emerging company with no revenue in the U.S., trying to break open a market that hadn’t yet been established by anyone. We were fortunate enough to be there for a stretch where Criteo went from zero to IPO to a $4 Billion valuation. It was a tremendous opportunity to contribute to a company’s growth from beginning through IPO.
After Criteo, we both joined PebblePost very early on in the same capacity. At the time, they had a few sellers, but lacked sales strategy and focus. During our 2+ years there, we helped put PebblePost on the map in another market that no one had developed. We helped establish PebblePost as the leader in Programmatic Direct Mail, and also learned many lessons along the way. We played a role in raising our series B and C rounds, just before that proverbial well dried up.
After PebblePost, we both gained experience on the website side of MarTech, diving into the technology and solutions that make advertising work once someone arrives at an eCommerce website. All of these experiences, together and on our own, have led us to today. We are launching Cogent because we want to help the Marketers we’ve worked with for the past 25 years to solve their biggest challenges. We want to help these Marketers excel at their jobs, network with like-minded professionals, and get as excited about our technology partners as we are! We are launching Cogent because we want to help emerging companies with amazing solutions find their way into the ecosystem, and rise above the noise of the Lumascape. We want to help good people with great ideas, to take their companies to the next level.
Our goals are to make sure that you meet yours. This is a journey that we take together, and we invite you to join us as we grow. If you are a Marketer, and want to collaborate with like-minded industry professionals, we’d love to have you join our Collective. If you are an Entrepreneur with an emerging technology, we know that you will benefit from our innovative approach to connecting the right ideas to the right brands.
Cogent means direct and to-the-point. Our commitment to our Partners and Collective is that we will always be cogent (after this long and self-serving blog post).
Co-Founder and Partner @ Cogent