PROPHET-izing the World of Data. Interview with Ashley Swartz, CEO of Furious

Ashley Swartz, CEO of Furious, started her career in manufacturing finance in enterprise and supply chain optimization software. But in this world of Iot, she was able to move into the manufacturing or products and mobile phones as a first introduction to mobile content and advertising. “I started my own agency in 2003 and then moved over to consult for the sell side of MVPDS, publishers and technology providers,” she explained, before founding Furious Corp in 2013 and building our platform which we call PROPHET. PROPHET connects and normalizes data from over 40 disparate advertising systems to report, forecast and optimize inventory and revenue across all sales channels and ad formats.

Charlene Weisler: How did you choose the name Furious?

Ashley Swartz: My nickname given to me by Matt Seiler when I worked for him years ago is Red Fury so I decided to name my company Furious. Matt Seiler, was CEO of PHD US when I worked for him and met him and most recently he was CEO and Chairman at Mediabrands.

Charlene Weisler: What MVPDs did you work for and what data did they use at that time on the sell side?

Ashley Swartz: I previously worked for Intel's On Cue platform, and we are currently working with multiple MVPDs today at Furious Corp. The datasets vary based on whether it is linear, linear addressable or digital. It included various 1st party data, set top box data, Nielsen data, Rentrak, 3rd party data including meta data, targeting data, etc. And, IF they had a DMP they might have ACR data (if needed) and or video player data.

Charlene Weisler: Tell me more about how the Furious platform works.

Ashley Swartz:  Furious' platform, PROPHET, is a horizontal platform that connects all the disparate advertising systems for a seller, automating the ingestion and cleansing of data to enable [near] real time reporting across all inventory, revenue (price) and audience for all platforms.  Its primary value as an enterprise system is in using this data to optimize yield at a portfolio level to maximize revenue and efficiency. It is powered by the most advanced state of the art optimization and forecasting algorithms known in the Data Science industry and we enhance them using domain specific knowledge of the media space and client specific data, thus creating best of breed adaptive and robust algorithms which present unprecedented accuracy and reliability. This is what powers PROPHET's forecasting, planning, pricing, allocation and optimization.

Charlene Weisler: Who is your competitive set?

Ashley Swartz: SAP, Freewheel, IBM and Accenture

Charlene Weisler: What other industries do you incorporate and what are their best practices that work in media?

Ashley Swartz: PROPHET leverages lessons learned from other large industries who have used Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software like SAP to connect their business, automate workflow, increase yield and productivity, as well as finance portfolio management tools to manage a mix of assets, optimize and rebalance portfolios over time. PROPHET utilizes methodologies from manufacturing, like Kaizen (continuous improvement) in its business logic using machine learning to power its self-correcting predictive and optimization algorithms.

Charlene Weisler: What is your definition of programmatic?

Ashley Swartz: The use of data or technology to improve the ROI on media.

Charlene Weisler: What do you think the impact of smart TVs will have on TV sales, content and measurement.

Ashley Swartz: In the short term, very little. As the owners of smart TVs begin to be more representative of a population, more valuable. We still have immense privacy issues to overcome to make the data actionable, and OEMS have a long way to go in ensuring the integrity of the data and establishing a realistic perspective on fair market value of the data.

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