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An Unconventional Set of Financing Paths: SRAX Founder Chris Miglino (Part 5)

Posted on Sunday, Oct 8th 2017

Sramana Mitra: Let’s pick a couple of how’s in what you have done where we can draw some lessons from the trenches. You pick from your journey where you can throw the maximum light on how you’ve done what you’ve done.

Chris Miglino: I’ve been relentless. That’s what helped me be successful. One thing that’s very unique in the advertising technology business is that it’s constantly evolving and changing. You’re always building tools that are ready to change the second you bring them to market. We’re always adapting and building new tools all the time. Having really good products in the pipeline and having those ideas in place that are putting forward the newest product is what’s helped us be successful.

Sramana Mitra: Can you get more granular? Think about an inflection point in your business that you arrived at and how you maneuvered the business. Describe the scenario. Describe how you’ve maneuvered that scenario.

Chris Miglino: The first year that we had done $5 million in sales is when we realized that this thing could really grow quickly. Then we looked at how we could grow from $5 million to $15 million. There were a lot of things that were happening in the ad tech business. That market was constantly changing. There was a point early on when we had built an entire model of the business around working with Google.

One day, Google decided to change their policies. They decided that what we were doing was no longer applicable to their business. Our revenue went from $100,000 a day to nothing with Google. We had to completely shift the business model. This literally happened a week after we raised money from some investors. They had put in their money and we got this phone call from Google that they were making a change on their platform.

We had to completely shift the way that we were building the software and how we were engaging. That inflection point of needing to make that change ended up being the best thing that could ever happen, because it gave us the technological infrastructure that we needed in order to continue the growth of the business. We had a short window of a downturn in revenue. Once we were finished building what we needed to build, the company took off again.

Sramana Mitra: A lot of businesses today are very dependent on large platforms. The vagaries of those large platform companies can end up impacting your trajectory very severely.

Chris Miglino: At that time, it could, but we were very careful that it wouldn’t be the case in the future.

Sramana Mitra: We work with early stage companies. It’s quite beneficial to ride on top of other platforms and get into their ecosystem. It does have certain downstream risks in the process. You’re running a public company at this point. You said you do a lot of non-profit work. You have a project that you are particularly passionate about. Talk to us about that.

Chris Miglino: My wife and I met when I was spending a lot of time in India and doing a lot of yoga. We would go to India and people would want to come with us. We would end up taking people with us to India. It started growing. I’ve been doing it for that last 15 years.

At first, it was five people. Then it became 10 people and then 20 people. When we were taking 20 to 30 people to India, we said, “Let’s change this up a little bit and let’s start bringing kids.” We decided to find a school that would allow us to do something like that. Sonia Jones and her husband have a non-profit organization called the Robin Hood Foundation. They do a lot of work in teaching yoga in schools, specifically in the East Coast. They hooked us up with a school in Brooklyn where kids are mostly poor.

Most of them haven’t been out of their neighborhoods in Brooklyn. They don’t have the opportunity to do anything. We decided to connect with the school and start to bring children from the school every year to India. The fund is called the Chandanni Scholarship Fund. Over the years, we’ve brought a lot of children to India. It’s been rewarding for us as well.

Sramana Mitra: Great. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 5 in the series : An Unconventional Set of Financing Paths: SRAX Founder Chris Miglino
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