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Entrepreneur Spotlight: James Avery

Why did you start Adzerk? What was it that made you want to go all in?

In 2007 I was writing a tech blog and used a small ad network to deliver highly-targeted, non-invasive ads. I eventually took over the network and ran it for a couple years, which led me to the idea of Adzerk: what if I could offer tools that would allow any site, app, or network to easily create innovative, user-friendly native ads? I saw both a huge opportunity in the market and a real chance to improve an internet that was (and still is) plagued by privacy-invading, page-slowing, and obtrusive ads.

What is one recent challenge you solved and how?

We had an issue where customers would sign a contract but never launch – leading 100% of them to churn. We instituted a number of changes, including having the sales team ensure customers had tested our APIs before we pushed for a signature. We also changed how our solution architects worked with our customers. In the past, SAs assisted customers in the sales process but stopped after signing. Now they stay on the account until the client has fully launched (we also make them available if the customer wants to expand their usage of the platform).

What do you like to do in your free time away from Adzerk?

I love hiking, camping, and kayaking with my two children. I also love traveling with my family; our latest trip was last summer when we went to Rome, Venice, Rovinj, Split, and Dubrovnik.

In your opinion, why do some startups succeed while others fail? 

Time and Persistence. Given enough time, I think almost every startup can succeed, but they either run out of money or the founders run out of persistence. Luck often plays a part in how successful a startup is, but I think it rarely determines whether it is successful at all.

Besides your own, what other startup (any time period) do you wish you could have founded/worked at and why? 

So many choices, but I think I’d be the third founder in that little garage at 2066 Crist Dr. in Los Altos, working with Steve and Steve on those early Apple computers. There are many impactful moments throughout the history of the computer revolution, but I think this one changed the world we live in more than any others.

Follow Adzerk on Twitter: @adzerk

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