Q&A with Jordan Greenfield & Peter Bordes
Founder & Chairman of Hoobie.
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Family Office Insights sits down with Jordan Greenfield, Founder, and Peter Bordes, Chairman, of Hoobie to discuss their user-tailored social media app that aggregates relevant content from all social platforms based on interests and passions for each unique user.
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Tell us about your background.
JORDAN GREENFIELD, Founder:
I have always been incredibly fascinated with entrepreneurs and the concept of building something from the ground up. My father is a serial entrepreneur so I’ve always had the privilege of being surrounded by world-class entrepreneurs who possessed both a strong IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence). I majored in Marketing at Fairfield University before jumping into the MBA program at Marquette University. At both Fairfield and Marquette University I played division 1 men’s lacrosse having the honor of being named athlete of the year in 2015 at Marquette University. Following Marquette, I worked for two startup companies in the Boston area that certainly left me with the entrepreneurial bug. To me, starting a business isn’t something that should be planned, but it should happen naturally – being aware of things around you is important so you can find solutions to the relevant problems out there.
PETER BORDES, Chairman:
I had the entrepreneurial bug ever since I was a teenager and my interest in media was deeply rooted in my family. My father was an entrepreneur in the traditional media industry as one of the founding fathers of FM radio and TV. I was on my way to working up my father’s company when the Internet came along and really shook up the traditional media business, giving me a glimpse of how the world was drastically changing digitally.
I then started my professional journey at an investment bank, where I spent 12 years in early stage investing during the explosion of the dot com era, but I always wanted to get back into media. So with a friend from Cable Vision, we came together to fund and build media companies together. One of the companies we were funding in the performance marketing space intrigued me and showed me the future of the digital technological landscape. I became digitally obsessed with the infinite realm of possibilities to create and digitally transform entire industries. So in 2011, I began oneQube, an audience social and content audience development platform. It was built on the premise that media advertising was going to be 100% performance driven due to the growth of technology where affiliate and performance marketing was king. We are the first audience platforms that enable brands to understand their audience and develop, manage, and market highly engaged audiences. We figured out how to use social media to drive transactions through advertising, but oneQube became a relevance engine that was ahead of our time. Although it worked spectacularly, it wasn’t able to move data at the quick pace it needed to. I incubated oneQube then and I’m re-incubating it now.
Currently I am an angel investor and mentor actively serving the start-up community. I am interested in being a driver to help roll out what I think are the most important entrepreneurial initiatives. We are moving from mass media to one-on-one. It’s now all about media, marketing, and the audience at the top of the pyramid. We, as consumers, are realizing our attention is now worth something to companies and brands; our attention is now a commodity. It’s about harnessing the right network. What Jordan was doing with Hoobie resonated with me because it was parallel to what we are doing at oneQube.
Tell us about your company, Hoobie.
Hoobie provides user-tailored feeds of relevant content from all social platforms, designed to grow uniquely with each individual user. Users select interests and causes they care about most, allowing Hoobie to mine the most relevant content and information from all social platforms through the use of API’s (application programming interfaces). Whether the user wants a feed of content related to animals, politics, travel, sports, health and wellness, or the environment, it is all controlled directly by the end user.
Hoobie is a B2B tool for a B2C clientele to push out content. It’s all about having an interface to push out, create, and consume in a more intelligent and efficient way. The minute I heard about Hoobie, I knew that this was something I needed in my life.
Social media is the biggest driver in digital transformation, which has also caused massive fragmentation in everything, similar to the Big Bang Theory. Like the Theory, if you don’t have things that start creating gravity within that noise, everything basically implodes. We need to have organization. One of the key drivers necessary in social media is relevance. We need a platform to create relevance-enable consumers that are connected to brands and other consumers to extract more value in making the use of these platforms more efficient. So the notion of not only a social operating system, but also one that drives relevance and creates a relevance graph is the biggest Hoobie objective. Making the use of networks and to extract information from easier too. If I’m creating a relevance graph, I’m mining for things that I’m contextually interested in, which also allows me to distribute more freely and quickly without having to log into each account separately. This type of application exists at the B2B level like a buffer, but not on the B2B and B2C level. We want people to extract information that is relevant. Hoobie is the operating system that is critical for social and driving relevance. There are very few tools that help facilitate that with all the channels out there; they operate in silos.
Who are your target clients?
The primary target is the young wave millennials, ages 21-26. This demographic is also referred to as the digital FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) group. The idea of connectivity is ubiquitous. These are the people who grew up on social media and as a result, tirelessly managing all the apps. Hoobie will provide the best from all platforms. It will be developed on iOS first, then Andriod, and desktop.
Our target clients are the millennials. It’s an important position to market Hoobie to. As for the target platform, I like how ESPN does it: sports, content, and marketing. They allow its audiences to use tools to create, share, and consume content the way they want to consume it. Everyone has a different pattern and how he or she uses Apps. I spend more of my day at my desktop but others may be on their mobile more, so enabling people to access Hoobie wherever they are is essential.
How are you different from your key competitors?
First off, in terms of the way we have built this platform, is has truly been a collective approach. We have tapped into as many brilliant minds as possible and have worked side by side with our target users to make sure what we are building is truly solving a real problem. What we are focusing on, that no one at the business to consumer level has had real success with, is the categorization of social content. We want to provide the most efficient way for people to access relevant content from all these online communities based on their interests and causes they care about most.
There are competitors out there that do bits and pieces of what we do, but no body brings together everything in a comprehensive way. There’s more competition in the B2B space, so the only real competitor is Flipboard from the consumption side, but I don’t see anyone else creating a relevance graph. That is something that I have been thinking about for the past 5 years to have a feed content that bubbles up things that are most relevant to me. There’s no one really doing that. The biggest competitor would be if one of those companies decided to push into the consumer market, but I doubt they will because they have so much on their table now.
What are some of the challenges you face in your industry?
The biggest challenge in the industry is timing so that it can be adopted and scaled correctly. When Jack Dorsey created Twitter, he realized that the timing wasn’t right then, and he knew to shelve the idea and re-visit it at the right time. We had a complete MVP (minimal viable product) done in December of 2016, but when we came to NYC and met with Peter, he gave us feedback that would make Hoobie far more dynamic. We went back to the drawing board and our schedule to release the platform to the public at the start of 2018.
The social landscape in the US is very competitive. People have been obsessive over the next form of communication and what that led us to is a very disjointed world where you have one App for filtered pictures, and one for disappearing pictures. Unfortunately, these scattered platforms result in us jumping around from one to another.
From the developer side, the biggest challenge is the inefficiency to facilitate the way the APIs (Application Program Interfaces) work and adapt to the growing social changes. There’s a constant on-going battle of bringing multiple systems together and keeping up with the changes, but many developers are doing this in a black box in a vacuum. From a UI/UX perspective, simplicity is the new form of innovation. Due to the API issue, how do you take something so complex and make it simple enough for a 15 year old to use it?
How are you changing the landscape of your industry?
People have been obsessed with the next best thing in social from MySpace, Facebook to SnapChat, Reddit, etc. There’s a culture of the cloning approach copying the latest trend hoping to increase and retain users. You see Instagram following Snapchat by introducing InstaStories. In China, there’s a widely successful messaging and social media network called WeChat. The developers saw what was working in other existing Apps and integrated it into one seamless efficient ecosystem, WeChat. At Hoobie, we are also big believers that integration increases the rate of innovation by allowing users to have access to all these communities at one centralized touch point. Our goal is to utilize the best features that already exist rather than recreate the wheel.
In the current social media landscape, I have all the B2B tools, but there’s a need for a B2C tool. We are in a time when relevance is critical. Just as Mark Zuckerberg created a social graph, we are creating a relevance graph.
How much capital are you looking to raise? Who is your ideal investor?
At this stage, we are looking at investors as partners. If I had to categorize the type of investors we are hoping to partner with, I would say we are looking for industry experts who have been in the consumer technology space and are familiar with the space and can provide insight. The second category is the connectors that can help us make the right connections within the space.
Normally, I’ve been taught to shy away from VC money, but when we are looking to raise for our Series A at the end of the first quarter of 2018, I am open to partnering with the right VC firm. It’s about the execution in this industry. Partnering with the right VC like General Catalyst or Spark Capital would provide a lot of positives to work with seasoned firms. As a young entrepreneur, I’m looking to surround myself with the smartest people possible.
We are currently in the Seed Round having already raised $500K to date from 7 investors, and we are looking to raise $300k more.
We want to get the right investors who understand the trajectory and can fuel it along the way. Family Offices are great partners when it comes to risk talent and the right level of comfort they have in taking risk capital. Right now, the company needs people who are going to help it get Hoobie to the next level while there’s still a wide window open to execute it. We don’t have time to wait 3-6 months with institutions when the momentum is in full swing. It’s about getting the MVP into market and validating it with user feedback and market acceptance. Once you get this validation, you look for tactical strategic partners like VCs that can step in and fuel Hoobie. It’s going to be about user adoption, social good, and connecting people. Investors who are interested in fueling this trajectory round will ideally follow us into the next round.
What’s are your mission?
Mark Zuckerberg talked about how in a few years technology will be able to read your mind and put it on your screen, but the real question is whether or not our society is ready to adopt that level of technology. There are a lot of features on Hoobie that are so important to further exploring deeper into your interests and causes you care about most. A community that focuses more on our commonalities than our differences. The mission of Hoobie is enhance the human connection through technology.
To make digital a more relevant place so it’s more scalable. It’s the next iteration of what it’s going to become.
What’s next for you?
My overall goal is continue to be a serial entrepreneur and be in this world. I love building something from the ground up; this gives me energy and purpose. I want to pay back and pay forward, as well as inspire and support young entrepreneurs the same way my mentors helped paved the way for me. I want to encourage other young entrepreneurs to think outside the box and question the way things have been done.
My wife always wonders when I’ll retire, but all of this is so exciting!
Our goal is to develop OneQube into the leading automation platform in the world, and my other mission is to get more involved in the Jordan-s of the world. I want to continue to help, fund, and mentor them. It’s critical in today’s world because it’s lacking in the current education system. I believe in entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. I tell the entrepreneurs I invest my time and money in that they need to give back to the community in return. I want to focus on trajectory capital and getting involved in the next emerging entrepreneurs.
Jordan Greenfield & Peter Bordes
Jordan Greenfield is an entrepreneur with a lifetime of experience leading and building teams. Mr. Greenfield graduated from Fairfield University with a BA in Marketing. Following his undergraduate studies, Jordan returned to school at Marquette University as an MBA candidate, to further learn and explore. This additional investment of time also enabled Mr. Greenfield to identify his passion and commitment to drive and build a company that will create change in a positive and profound way.
A natural leader, while at Marquette, Jordan received the Ralph H. Metcalf award as the male athlete of the year. The award reads “Committed to excellence in academic, athletics, and leadership through service to others.” He was also a recipient of the Big East Scholar-Athlete Sports Excellence Award. This award is given to one student-athlete in each sponsored sport in THE BIG EAST based on academic credentials, athletic accolades, and volunteer service to the community.
Following Marquette, Mr. Greenfield worked as an associate for new innovations at AZ Therapies, a privately held biotech company engaged in a pivotal Phase III clinical trial for prolonging or halting the progression of Alzheimer disease, in his hometown of Boston. Mr. Greenfield has also worked in sales and business development for Inside Tracker, a blood analytics company with a unique and disruptive platform on a consulting basis.
This is Mr. Greenfield’s inaugural experience leading a startup company. Mr. Greenfield is enthusiastic and determined to see his vision become a reality. A company that makes a difference on many levels and for many people.
For more information, please reach out to Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peter Bordes is the Executive Chairman & Founder of oneQube, an intelligent audience automation software to develop organic social & content audiences.
Prior to Internet Media Labs, Mr. Bordes founded and was CEO of MediaTrust Performance Exchange, a real-time cpc bid exchange for direct response marketing. During Mr Bordes’ tenure as MediaTrust’s CEO, the company was named the 9th fastest growing US company in 2009 & 2010 by Inc. 500, and #1 Performance Marketing Network 2009 by Revenue Performance Magazine.
Mr. Bordes spent much of his career in banking and venture capital, and was a founder of Mason Cabot Investment Bank, which specialized in early stage media and technology financing. He has been and continues to be active in angel investing and entrepreneur mentorship. Mr. Bordes is ranked in the Top 100 Most Influential Angel Investors in the United States and Social Media. He is also a Member of the Thiel Foundation 20 Under 20 Mentor Program.
Mr. Bordes serves on the Board of Directors and Advisory Boards of media and technology companies: Board of Directors for Ocearch.org; Founding Charter Member & Board of Directors of the PMA Performance Marketing Association; Member of the Pivot Conference Advisor Board. As the thought leader in the social media & performance marketing industry, he speaks at industry events, such as, PivotCon, ad:tech, PubCon, AffCon, and SES Search Engine Strategies & Performance Marketing Leadership Summit.
For more information, please reach out to Peter at email@example.com.