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Meet Hikari Senju – Powering Growth Through Covid With Omneky

Today we have selected Hikari Senju to take his interviewHe is the CEO Of Omneky.

First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?

Although COVID-19 has many challenges, the team has done a great job gelling together and contributing to the robust culture we have here at Omneky. While working remotely comes with its own set of challenges, COVID has also increased the demand for online advertising. We launched the product last January and within a year, we profitably passed $1m in ARR.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?

I studied computer science at Harvard, where I started an on-demand tutoring company called Quick help. It was a challenge to get the density of tutors and students necessary to have a thriving on-demand tutoring app and I learned what it takes to grow a consumer marketplace. Quick help was eventually acquired by Yup.com where I became its Head of Growth. It was there that I saw how truly broken marketing was, where 20 cents on the dollar is wasted on ineffective content. With the advent of computer vision to quantify design and AI to generate content, I realized there was an opportunity to build a product to help businesses more effectively grow.

How does your company innovate?

Omneky generates personalized ads at scale. Built on OpenAI’s GPT-3 platform, Omneky is an AI that generates hundreds of thousands of ad creatives to A/B test, learns what words and visuals drive conversions, then generates a new set of A/B tests based on those learnings. We’re managing tens of millions of dollars a month and are the only Facebook Preferred Agency Partner that is an OpenAI partner.

How the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

The pandemic has hit a lot of businesses and people very hard and has made life much more difficult. From day 1 of founding Omneky, our mission was to empower small businesses to grow, and as COVID-19 continued we knew we had the ability to have an impact. Around a year later, we are happy to say that we have partnered with hundreds of businesses that we’ve helped not just stay afloat but thrive.

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

We’ve been profitable from day 1 which has helped us better navigate these challenging times better than others. Keeping it this way though results in making difficult choices, and this crisis has really taught us the value of focus. There are so many growth opportunities and it’s critical for us to say no to anything not in the top 5 priorities.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

Slack, Gitlab and Zoom have been necessary for navigating Covid. We have near-daily standup meetings with teammates, and I’ve found micro-management of areas that need my attention to be critical in this crisis. I also keep an eagle eye on our cash flows and operating margins, which we’ve been told are best in class. Don’t lose money, and the upside takes care of itself.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

In the small business market, we compete directly with agencies given that we provide an end-to-end solution for growth. For larger clients, we compete with generative content companies like Persado.

Your Final Thoughts

One situation we often encounter is businesses that we help thrive, driving 20x ROAS, but are growth constrained due to their limited access to capital. Our mission is to democratize growth and to further this mission we are exploring offering lines of credit for ad spend. This way any business can get the attention they need to grow.

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