Places Dot provides well-crafted answers to all content related problems: what, how, why, where. From generation (content) to justification (insights) to deployment (platforms).
Formed in 2021, the startup has 14 employees and a founding team with experience in travel, tourism and marketing.
What is your 30-second pitch to investors?
We provide well-crafted answers to all content related problems: what, how, why, where. From generation (content) to justification (insights) to deployment (platforms). Our solutions are AI-produced, human curated.
Describe both the business and technology aspects of your startup?
When we first launched, we started out as a no-code B2B activities marketplace enterprise.
We had a proven marketplace platform and after signing up our first B2B clients, we needed to create thousands of pages of content in a very short timeframe.
We were accepted in an early, invitation-only, stage for one of the most advanced AI tools for natural language processing during our first weeks in business. We constructed a highly customized proprietary infrastructure consisting of data-driven and AI-assisted content generation overseen by human editors.
With this tool we generated thousands of relevant pages of content, including long-form articles to populate the marketplaces fast. Lightning fast. And at a fraction of the cost. While maintaining the highest degree of SEO oomph.
The Eureka moment happened then: we realized that we had built tools and know-how, with AI and machine learning at the core, which had commercial applications of their own.
So we expanded our case studies to include a client who didn’t necessarily need an activities marketplace but had important content marketing needs. Our preliminary findings were incredible.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.
- Industry veterans, top-notch development team
- Self-funded, determining the full scope of the opportunity
- Too big to easily assess with short “content” tails and a long “marketplace” tail
- Self-serve general purpose AI-content generation, gatekeeping Marketing agencies
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective?
The discovery process in the things to do (TTD) realm has always been a tedious, overcomplicated process across an ever growing number of physical and digital channels. For both free and at-a-cost TTDs.
We don’t think it is going to get simplified any time soon, especially on the digital front. But we can make it simpler for businesses to address their content needs.
With our solutions, businesses can now afford to be present, relevant and unique across all those digital channels in much faster and cost-effective ways. And this leads to customers finding the TTDs they are actually interested in.
So you've got the product, now how will you get lots of customers?
There are hundreds of thousands of activities in the U.S. alone and thousands of distributors of activities.
And we happen to know many of them interested and willing to try our solutions. That’s the advantage of having a founders team composed of industry veterans.
Tell us what process you've gone through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market?
Worldwide, spend on artificial intelligence for marketing is likely to reach $35.1 Billion by 2027 and we’ll be happy if we capture only a tiny fraction of that pie.
Although AI applied to travel isn’t so novel, addressing the industry’s continuous content needs with AI-powered solutions is fairly unique.
How and when will you make money?
Places Dot is fortunate to already be making money! The next step for us is to increase our customer base to increase our Content generation related revenue.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team?
Marina Petrova, CEO, was the founder in 2013 of New York Online, an OTA servicing international visitors to New York City. Prior to that, she served as vice president for global clients at WPP in New York City. Her teams received many awards, including the first ever Broadband Emmy for “Outstanding Achievement in Content For Non-Traditional Delivery Platforms” with L.A.-based Animax for ESPN. She is a highly respected name in the marketing analytics industry and sought-after speaker.
Bruce Amick, chief operations officer, was the original co-founder of Broadway Inbound in 2003 alongside Bob Hofmann and Charlie Flateman (acquired by the Shubert Organization). In its first year of existence, Broadway Inbound created the first ever B2B booking platform exclusively for Broadway, including an API to access and book live Broadway inventory. His 30+ years career has allowed him to evolve at the top of the US theater and entertainment industry: Shorenstein Hays Nederlander (SHN), the San Francisco Symphony, Theatre Direct, Inc., Broadway.com and LockData Technologies.
Jonathan Elkoubi, chief commercial officer, an attractions and travel industry veteran with strong ties to travel and tourism trade associations, oversaw the launch of VR World NYC in 2017 (at the time the largest space dedicated to virtual reality in North America). His team secured over a billion mainstream press impressions and millions in revenue during VR World’s first year in business.
How have you addressed diversity and inclusion within your business?
From day one, Places Dot adopted a strong DEI commitment statement which it plans to apply and refine as the company grows.
All three founders believe strongly in equitability; so much so that it could even be considered the starting point of their collaboration: prior to launching Places Dot, Marina, Bruce and Jonathan had co-jointly launched HTTA.US, a non-commercial platform meant to help the recovery of their travel industry peers (winner of Groups Today 2020 “Tenacity in Travel” Readers Choice award).
What's been the most difficult part of founding the business so far?
Launching a travel-related startup in the middle of the pandemic isn’t for the faint-hearted. But we’ve managed somehow to do more with less, in tune with the whole sector.
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making an impact - so why are you going to be one of the lucky ones?
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are at the core of the Web3 (r)evolution. This evolution is content hungrier than ever; let Places Dot feed it.
A year from now, what state do you think your startup will be in?
Cash positive, exponentially growing.
What is your end-game? (Going public, acquisition, growing and staying private, etc.)
Our intention is to remain private in the foreseeable future. In an increasingly conscientious world, travel-related businesses want to be competitive while becoming more sustainable and socially responsible; by dealing with their content pains, Places Dot frees the bandwidth they desperately need to regain in order to adopt solutions which answer more noble aspirations.
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