Bill McCloskey

Bill McCloskey is the founder of Only Influencers and eDataSource.

Bill McCloskey

Bill McCloskey

Bill McCloskey is the founder of Only Influencers and eDataSource.

In 2006, I raised over $1 Million with the New York Angels

At that time that was the largest amount ever raised through the New York Angels group, and as far as I know, it still is the record. In this post, I'll be exploring the process of raising funds through an institution like the New York Angels. 

The Idea:

When I read various entrepreneurial forums, one of the big questions is "How do you get an idea for a business?" In my case, the idea was literally given to me by one of my clients. They needed a competitive intelligence tool for email. At the time, back in 2003, no such technology existed, and so I decided to develop it myself. 

I called the company Email Data Source (now eDataSource.com), which began life in my garage as the first competitive intelligence tool for email marketers. By 2005, we were an 8 member team, profitable, with offices in Manhattan and with about 70 brands as clients. 

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We’re almost there; Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and every other day from Thanksgiving to Christmas will fill up with online shoppers looking for those special gifts. Online businesses will ramp up marketing efforts and website optimization to capture all they can from floods of consumers scouring their inventories. Big and small companies, alike, will be looking for the advantage that makes them stand out this holiday season.


In the email marketing world, we’re all aware of the massive amounts of segmentation available. We frequently segment with time zone, the list activity, purchase history, account type, geolocation, and other CRM variables. All of that data usage is an attempt to figure out the recipient in order to create more revenues; it’s a way for us behind-the-desk marketers to understand our recipients and speak to them with relevance and accuracy, moving the needle on the bottom line.


But does it?


Yeah, sometimes. I get emails often that use my information to justify why I should buy or subscribe to a certain offer, and a small percentage of the time they do get me to react and participate. The widespread problem seems to be content creation. Many businesses are trying to sell products and services without consulting the real-time data they get from actual shoppers using their websites.


While CRM data is very valuable, it doesn’t tell the whole story. It just reflects on past actions to predict the future. It also requires the completion of purchases to triangulate accurately what consumers ‘may’ be looking for next. Conversely, site search data is realtime actionable insights being generated by shoppers as they interact with the website whether they purchase or not. If you sell products or services, this information is pure, marketing gold.

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georgebilbrey

OI: Return Path recently rebranded themselves as an Email Intelligence company. Can you tell me what exactly that means? 

 

George: The goal of Email Intelligence at a high level is to take a lot of the guess work for marketers in how to optimize their email marketing program. Everyday on the Only Influencers list there is a question "say, should we do 'X' and our goal is to provide empirical evidence that if you do 'X' here is what the results are based on where you are in your email marketing program right now. So it is the application of a lot of different data - some of panel data that Josh was talking about comes from Other Inbox, some comes from ContextIO, plus our vast store of reputation data, the data we have coming from ISPs - apply some really great analytics to that and turn that into solid advice for email marketers. 

 

OI: can you give me a concrete example of the kind of advice a marketer might be able to get out of it? 

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Today was the official announcement that eDataSource has acquired Boxbe. Congratulations to eDataSource's CEO Carter Nicholas who was instrumental in this: what started as a conversation at a trade show 2 years ago has led to a reinvention of eDataSource. 

Having created eDataSource out of my garage in 2003, obviously this is tremendously exciting for me. 

Here is a little history of the start of eDataSource: 

In August of 2000, I launched my first for profit company: Emerging Interest (previously I had started a non-profit called The Rich Media SIG and the money from that company helped provide the seed money for Emerging Interest). Emerging Interest was an interesting idea that is being copied today: I would take vendors in to meet decision makers at agencies and companies in a traveling road show. Over the years, agencies would hire us to find vendors for a particular project. One day Ogilvy contacted me and asked me to find a competitive intelligence vendor for email. One of their clients wanted to monitor the competitors email campaigns. 

After talking to every competitive intelligence company, I found out no one monitored email. Why, I wondered. Well, I reasoned, there was no easy technological solution. You couldn't scan people's inboxes. So what was my big idea? Why not sign up to every list out there and archive what came in? Here I had an idea and a potential customer. I shut down Emerging Interest over the next few months and launched Email Data Source. 

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hud-smalt-whskThis weekend I took a ride up to Gardiner, NY to visit the Tuthilltown (pronounced Tuttle Town) Spirits Distillery. I was expecting a quick 5 minute tour of facilities followed by a tasting of their Hudson Whiskey. What I got was instead was one of the most interesting stories in entrepreneurship I've ever heard about.

Started 7 years ago, Tuthilltown Distillery became the very first Distillery to open in New York State since prohibition. Seven years later, Hudson Whiskey is available around the world (20 cases where headed to Lebanon while I was there) in their distinctive Pharmacy bottles and employees about 27 people, growing to 40 according to their growth plans. The success of Tuthilltown is a story that touches on every exciting aspect and stage of entrepreneurship, and the reason I love entrepreneurship so much.

Rule One: Adapt Or Die.

Ralph Erenzo, a professional rock climber and founder of ExtraVertical Climbing Center in Manhattan, had a dream of creating a Climbers ranch near The Gunks, a popular spot for climbers near Gardiner, NY. After purchasing the land, neighborhood opposition prevented Ralph from creating his dream. Now what?

Rule Two: Take advantage of a Change in Circumstances

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