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Recent press | Interview with Mick Entwisle in Valor Econômico.

Genero news 24 May, 2023

Valor Econômico recently published an in-depth interview with Mick Entwisle, Genero’s CEO & Co-founder. Valor is Brazil’s largest business and finance publication, so we were honoured to make it onto the cover of their print edition. Read the translated article below, and the original on the Valor website here

Australian platform Genero goes from the Beatles to AI.

Author: João Luiz Rosa, São Paulo

When Mick Entwisle and his partner Andrew Lane created Genero in 2009, social networks were far from exerting the same influence they have today. Facebook had 5.5 million accounts, a fraction of the current 2.9 billion users, and YouTube was barely four years old. “And there was no Instagram, let alone TikTok,” says the Australian executive. However, for the entrepreneurial duo, the impact of social media on advertising was already evident, which they saw as a business opportunity.

Genero manages an online network that connects advertisers with creatives such as photographers, animators, producers, and video editors. Companies can select, hire, and pay these professionals through the platform. For those who provide creative services, in addition to serving as a showcase, the platform offers tools for collaborating and producing content.

“It’s difficult to describe our business exactly because we are different things to different clients, but essentially we see ourselves as a platform for creation,” says Entwisle, CEO of Genero. The company name, in Latin, means “to create.”

Entwisle and Lane met at Monash University in Australia, where they studied business and marketing. Before creating Genero, they worked in large companies: Entwisle at HP; Lane at Vodafone. At these companies, they closely followed the changes that social networks were causing in the relationship between brands and consumers.

“It became obvious that it was necessary to produce much more content for the different platforms that were emerging, mainly video,” says the executive.

In addition to needing more content, brands also needed to diversify their marketing actions without exploding costs. This demand led to the idea of creating a platform to connect advertisers and creative professionals.

The first field explored was music. “We’d go to record companies and say, ‘Look, the internet has changed things; now the songs are distributed and consumed online. Instead of looking for a video director to record a music video, you can create multiple videos of the same song and share the content with different audiences. Each person consumes the version they prefer,” says Entwisle.

The approach proved successful. The company has earned the trust of major US and UK labels, with work for global stars. Producers from David Bowie, James Brown, Robert Plant, and two ex-Beatles – George Harrison and Ringo Starr – have used the platform. The English band Duran Duran described a music video produced by “a country boy” from Australia as one of the best ever made for the group.

The performance in music videos paved the way in the advertising market, which has always been the main target. Currently, the music business accounts for just 5% of revenue, with everything else coming from the marketing business. There are around 1,500 customers, including brands such as L’Oréal, Nestlé, P&G, Hilton, and Diageo. The number of registered professionals exceeds 130,000.

In total, Genero has handled more than $100 million in business on the platform, which has official partnerships with Meta, TikTok, YouTube, and Amazon.

Most of Genero’s revenue comes from the US and Europe, with 30% for each market. The remainder comes from Oceania, Asia, and Latin America. The latter became the fastest-growing region, with a 300% increase in revenue in 2022. The figures are not disclosed.

Genero has seven offices around the world, one of them in Brazil. The company landed almost three years ago, shortly before the start of the pandemic. “Obviously, it was a big challenge,” says Entwisle. The decision to open a Brazilian branch was greatly influenced by the interest of customers and partners who already used the platform abroad and wanted to rely on the resources in the country.

Genero made two rounds to raise funds from private equity funds. Australian manager Ellerston Capital participated in both. New funding, to obtain additional resources and expand the business, is not ruled out. At the moment, however, the financial market is not so positive, and the strategy is to focus on improving the financial results of the company, which is profitable, says Entwisle. “We will review the situation towards the end of the year.”

Recently, Genero entered a partnership with the Argentine Memorable, an artificial intelligence (AI) company, to apply this type of technology to operations. “Human beings will always be at the center of creativity. Ideas and content need to be created by humans. But AI plays an important role in increasing this creative power,” says the executive. “You can get a very good understanding of consumer behavior using AI.”

Artificial intelligence is being used on Genero’s platform to make recommendations to creative professionals and drive the effectiveness of media actions. “It could be something about the size of the logo, the number of people in a photo, colors, product placement, all those kinds of things where analyzing millions or billions of data points can help a lot,” says the CEO.

Technology is also being applied to create variations of the same content for different media, audiences, and languages. “AI can speed up this process and make it much more efficient,” says Entwisle.