We, at e27believe in Asia’s startups. As such, we value their insights about the ecosystem, put the spotlight on their contributions to their industries, and celebrate the wins that they have.

This community spotlight is on AdMov, a Philippine-based infotainment platform for public transportation, that currently focusses their distribution in Uber and Grab cars in Manila.

We had a chance to ask Bobby Cristuta, Co-Founder and CMO, a few questions about AdMov and the future of advertising.

On what AdMov does

“We designed AdMov to be a television on the road. Traffic in the metro is very horrendous. People spend 2 to 3 hours on the road stuck in traffic. We want to relieve this pain by providing entertaining and useful contents to the riders.”

On what makes AdMov different from other traditional in-vehicle advertising platforms

“Using the camera of the tablet, we are able to determine the age and gender of the passenger. We use artificial intelligence and face recognition to provide the riders with relevant content and ads. We want to improve the commuting experience by making the passengers enjoy travelling.

We also leveraged location-based marketing inside the platform. If you are a local business, you can target clients near the vicinity of your business. Business owners can target which areas they want their ads to be shown. Leveraging the tablet’s GPS, ads can be displayed within the area. Relevant ads can be played for cars that go in or out of that vicinity.”

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On competitors and the AdMov advantage

“In the US and UK, there is Viuer and GoVugo. Both of them are great systems. The competitive advantage of AdMov is that the platform is designed to the needs of the Philippines and ASEAN market. We are a team of technology experts in fields like cloud applications, facial recognition, and artificial intelligence that are essential to this industry. A solid understanding of the local culture and the technology expertise of the team are the key differentiators.”

On what they look for in team members

“For us, passion is the most important. We want to get people who are passionate about the problems we are solving and the opportunities it will bring. Skills are nice assets but are useless if the individual does not believe on the value we are building.

As a start-up, it is expected that there will be lots of ups and downs. If the people are passionate, they will move mountains to make sure we deliver the value we offer for society. Passion is what we are really looking for with individuals.”

On building their team

“Ellard (co-founder) and I met each other back in college and we both come from technical backgrounds, so recruiting developers was quite easy. We started out by creating  small MVPs and selling them to potential customers. When we noticed that the demand for AdMov increased, we decided to invite people from our network to join us to enhance the platform further.”

On the advantage startups have over large enterprises when it comes to attracting talent

“Ellard and I both worked at large companies. We noticed that most companies do not encourage innovation. A lot of them will tell their employees that they have a working process in place, so why change it? I’m sure many corporate employees can relate to these statements: “this is the X Company’s way” or “That is not how X Company does things”.  Many of these companies do not appreciate the need to innovate.

This is a major turn-off for many talented individuals. For them, they feel that their talents are not being appreciated. Many of them feel that they are wasting their lives clocking in/out of work, doing the same repetitive things. Their fancy office cubicles have become shackles, voiding them the chance to have meaning in their lives.

Start-ups on the other hand offer these people creative opportunities. Passionate individuals can now become part of developing something great. People are encouraged to share their ideas and build something that no one is doing. People are empowered to contribute to innovation and not to be afraid of making mistakes.

Being a start-up gives you the agility to quickly adopt to where the market is going. You can easily address pain-points of customers and provide more value. It is always a journey of growth, learning and iteration in start-ups.”

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On challenges advertising is facing today

“Ten years ago, advertising is not highly contested. It all revolves around traditional platform, namely: newspaper, TV, radio, and out of home media like billboards. Nowadays, there are a lot of marketing channels available. There is social media, SEO, mobile internet marketing.

People encounter more than 400 advertisements from the internet and other out of home media. They have grown so accustomed with ads that they have become immune to them. The challenge companies are now facing is how to get the attention of potential customers despite all these noise.”

On how AI can elevate the advertising industry

“AI will play a huge role in advertising. As technology improves, you will notice a surge of new customer data available for marketers. In AdMov, we are able to use facial recognition and AI to estimate the age and gender of passengers. Using this info, the platform is capable of determining demographics and displaying relevant ads for out of home media. Age and gender is just the start. AI would be able to give us information about a person’s mood that can become a factor on what content to show that person.

Advertising becomes effective if the audience can relate to what you are showing them. This is where AI is playing a big role. AI will be able to gather data and know who you are as a person to identify what content would connect with you.”

On Southeast Asia’s readiness to adapt AI into advertising

“The US and Europe has already adapted on these technology advancements a few years ago. We are anticipating that the emerging markets like SEA will follow suit on this. In 2 to 4 years time you will see marketing technology trend as businesses realise the efficiency brought by AI.”

On the advantages of launching in the Philippines

“Since I came from the IT BPO industry, I know that the Philippines is home to a lot of talented developers and designers. Outsourcing companies like Accenture and HP tap on these talents. The people have a good mastery of the English language. This will help especially for start-ups that wants to build a multi-national teams for their company. Collaboration will be really easy when you tap Filipinos.”

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On their market and leveraging on increasing popularity of Uber and Grab

“Our market are SMEs and large companies that offer premium products and services. Uber and Grab are just starting to become widely accepted here in the Philippines as a mode of transportation. Their riders are considered to be of high value, who have the capacity to pay. They are a mix of the working class, students of elite universities, and members of Filipino middle class families.”

On the AdMov vision and win-win situations

“Our vision is to create a better advertising medium that people will love. Traffic is a major problem here in Manila. We want AdMov to be a source of entertaining content and useful ads for passengers stuck in traffic. We want to create an eco-system where advertisers and drivers can also benefit.

We believe by making traffic more enjoyable, and advertisers can leverage the airtime and increase their reach to high value demographics. We also believe that by sharing ad revenue to the drivers, they can augment their income and further improve their transport services.”

On challenges faced and what’s next for AdMov

“Our biggest challenge is scaling the vehicle inventory quickly. We are currently working on supplying the needs of  large advertisers. We are also eyeing expanding to other transport segments like taxis, buses, electronic buses, and express shuttles, as well as exploring partnerships to expand across Southeast Asia.

Right now, we are focussed on expanding and delivering the platform to the public, on making passenger experience better and bringing more valuable audiences to our advertisers. Leveraging technology, we can improve how ads and content should be shared within the platform.”

AdMov is an infotainment platform that uses AI, facial recognition, and geo-fencing capabilities to ensure that relevant ads are communicated to its audience. They are currently operating in the Philippines through partnership with ride-hailing apps and seeks to expand all over Southeast Asia.