The co-founder and CEO of Tracer shares how his data intelligence platform bridges the growing gap between sets of data and how being selective helped him close a multi-million-dollar fundraising round.
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If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, Jeffrey Nicholson believes you have to be selective. Nicholson is the co-founder and CEO of Tracer, a data-intelligence platform that recently closed a $9.9 million seed investment round. Prior to creating Tracer, he was the Chief Media Officer at VaynerMedia. He also serves on the advisory boards for Roku, Pinterest and Nextdoor. He created his education startup, NicholNotes, to improve the education ecosystem and shape future leaders. Nicholson sat down with Jessica Abo to talk about how Tracer bridges the growing gap between sets of data and how being selective can help you be more successful.
Jessica Abo: Can you start by telling us a little bit about your career?
Jeffrey Nicholson: I went to business school at Babson College. Honestly, it changed my life. I was always very good at math and fell into finance, but I just didn’t love it. I didn’t have the passion for it and didn’t feel like it was going to be my career. Then I stumbled upon running ads on Google and really took that and ran with it. I’ve spent the last 15 years in the media and technology space honing my skills and growing businesses, and I couldn’t feel more blessed about what I’ve been doing.
What was the problem that you were trying to solve when you came up with this idea to create Tracer?
The problem is really disparate datasets. If you think about a very simple data equation for any business, they are spending money on Google, Facebook and maybe they use Shopify for their website. None of those companies talk to each other, and you consistently run into the problem where dataset one plus dataset two plus dataset three is the answer you need, but they don’t make it easy to put those things together. I experienced that over and over, whether I was at an agency or running a brand myself, so I decided to solve the problem and build my own technology.
Where were you in your career when you came up with this idea?
I was working at a company called SocialCode, and we, at the time, were one of the largest Facebook advertisers in the United States. Disparate datasets had been a consistent problem that I had run into in my career. Companies have to deal with data from television, Google, Facebook, Shopify and all these different companies and publishers, as well as revenue streams, and there’s no glue in between. There’s no one considering the client’s best interest and saying, “Here is all your data. Here’s how to contextualize it. Here’s how to draw insights on what you have at your disposal.”
I honestly got fed up with trying to combat that with humans and Excel and decided to build my own technology with my business p
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Why Being Selective Can Lead to Success