A Slice on Greg Lim, Co-Founder and CEO of Persosa
Greg Lim stepped into a Chief Marketing Officer role with absolutely zero marketing experience. The company was LifeLock, a unicorn startup that helped create the whole identity protection space. This bold career move would ultimately lead him to co-found Persosa, a company projected to deliver real-time second screen experiences to the TV industry. Persosa as it stands today is in its seed-stage looking to continue fundraising in 2021.
Lim got his start in finance and operations with companies like Motorola and American Title, therefore marketing wasn’t necessarily a natural progression for him. Not afraid to work outside his comfort zone, Lim describes his foray into marketing as a “gift”, as he was able to bring fresh perspectives and ideas as he had “no expectations” regarding the role. Throughout the experience, he realized the company was spending wasted marketing dollars (upwards of a quarter billion) on generalized efforts. First and foremost, he found that they weren’t utilizing the customer personas to the best of their abilities. Each user, with a different set of likes and interests, was being served the same exact content with no delineation between product ads. Lim got an inkling for an improved method and thus, Persosa was born. Persosa is the first of its kind in the marketplace and aims to be completely personalized by providing fully contextual and immersive experiences surrounding the content a consumer wants to see.
Additionally, the software also tracks customer data, so customers can control and automate usage. “We’re the only company right now delivering real-time second screen experiences to the TV industry… for example, if you’re watching something on television, and you happen to see a commercial for an F-150 truck. Then you go to ford.com and get shown a minivan on your phone. Imagine if you had an experience on their website that actually showed the Ford F-150, which ties back to the commercial you’re watching in real-time.”
Creating innovative technology is the first step, finding a tech-friendly environment is the next. As a burgeoning tech scene, Arizona proved to be a great place for Lim to start Persosa. Able to find help and support when needed, Lim feels a strong sense of community even as a newcomer to the startup world. However, finding funding in-state has been a challenge for Lim, since money has traditionally been invested in property and development in Arizona. Luckily, he’s been able to find investors in other states who are looking to invest in new tech.
Fundraising is not a new feat for Lim, as he led finance and operations for LifeLock through its IPO in 2012. But funding in those late stages is drastically different than fundraising for small seed-stage startups. In Lim’s words, it’s “apples and motorcycles”. “It took us a while as a company to figure out who we were and who we should be talking to. Early on, one of our lessons was… if someone’s interested enough to take your call and tell you that your baby is beautiful, you want that validation as someone trying to prove something in the market. We spent a lot of time talking to the wrong types of investors, but we also learned and it helped us iterate and refine.” Along the way, Lim has learned to take advice from others with a grain of salt. You’ll get different answers from different people based on their background and what they do, so being able to balance those opinions is necessary to find what will work best for you and your business.
In the early months of 2020, Lim and his team identified large opportunities within the TV industry to connect streaming experiences from multiple channels. The channels were set to include web, TV, audio and video games, all in one. Then, COVID-19 hit, and production was put on hold while the media industry came to a screeching halt. Rather than focusing on the negatives, Lim took this time to improve the Persosa platform. “For about six months, candidly, we couldn’t even get a meeting, it was crickets. So we used that time to focus on the things that we could control. We continued to improve and iterate on the platform.” In doing so, Persosa was accepted into a cohort of video advertising and walked into their first media pilot with the largest media company in Latin America. When the media industry eventually opened back up, Lim and his team were in a good place and even welcomed new advisors to the board.
Looking ahead, Lim and his team plan to measure success through market validation by building a sustainable and scalable business model. Lim learned during his time at LifeLock that it’s impossible to plan for specific events, like certain financial goals. “Money is really the result of doing something great” not the goal itself. Though important, focusing too much on specific events leads to “making small progress, but the finish line keeps moving”. Disruptive ideas aren’t obvious, but Lim plans to do just that: disrupt the media industry by creating a connection between television and digital marketing.
Greg Lim has a background in business, particularly finance, from his studies at University of Arizona and Stanford University. He continued on this path while serving as both CMO and later VP of Enterprise, Risk, and Strategic Operations at LifeLock for seven years. Lim is now Co-Founder and CEO of Persosa. Connect with Lim on LinkedIn.