David Kashak founded Connatix in 2013 to help publishers monetize without editorial compromise.
As CEO, David drives the company’s vision to develop disruptive, first-to-market video solutions designed for the modern publisher. Before Connatix, David was the Director of Business Development at Conduit and spent ten years at Verint leading their Americas Business Operations. His previous experience working with customer engagement platforms in the advertising industry helped inform his customer-centric and innovative mindset that guides his strategic decisions at Connatix.
David attended Tel Aviv University and lives in NYC with his family. You can find David at Rumble Boxing Studio or preparing for the next Burning Man festival in his spare time.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN THE MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY?
It was unexpected. I spent the first years of my career working in cybersecurity in Israel. Then, I moved to New York in 2001 as we were preparing to IPO. While I enjoyed my stint in cybersecurity, I wanted to try my hand at a more creative technology role. So, I joined a martech company. My work with publishers at this company inspired my love for media and opened my eyes to the broader industry’s challenges. This inspired me to start Connatix.
HOW DID THIS LEAD YOU TO FOUND “CONNATIX”?
I met my Connatix co-founder Oren Stern while working at my former martech company. We initially tried to make a deal together, but it ultimately didn’t work out. However, it did get us talking about the media industry – precisely the publishers’ problems. Connatix initially started as a native exchange, but we pivoted to video content in 2016. Today, our goal is to make publishers’ lives easier by providing them with the tools they need to create, host, and monetize video content.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? WHAT DOES YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE (YOUR APPS, PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS, ETC.)
Every day is different. Sometimes, I enjoy starting my day with a breakfast meeting with an employee or a client. Other days I’ll dig into the business operations or marketing discussions. I heavily rely on Slack and all of its integrations to keep me organized. I also spend a lot of time connecting with the global Connatix team via Zoom. I also love to travel. I travelled a lot pre-pandemic, so it’s been exciting to rely on my Airline app again heavily.
WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU SEEN IN THE AD TECH INDUSTRY SINCE THE PANDEMIC, AND WHY?
Certain areas like CTV and e-commerce marketing were poised for growth before the pandemic, but those areas saw a significant increase with consumers spending more time at home. In addition, consumer behaviour has shifted, with people discovering and digesting more news than ever— and the ad tech industry is reflecting that. Combined with the fact that Google is phasing out third-party cookies, it’s clear that the industry is constantly evolving, and marketers need to be prepared to respond.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON UTILIZING DEEP LEARNING IN VIDEO CONTENT CREATION AND MONETIZATION WITH WHERE IT IS TODAY?
Publishers who are not taking advantage of video content are missing out in a significant way. Creating and updating video content takes time and effort, but keeping audiences informed and engaged is crucial to success, and there are ways to make it as light a lift as possible. One way to do so is to utilize deep learning. For example, Google’s product YouTube Dynamic Lineups uses machine learning to understand each channel better and analyse video imagery, sound, speech, and text. At Connatix, we have our Insights Engine. We offer contextual targeting for buyers to efficiently target video ads against a more significant set of in-video context and categories— using deep learning and computer vision to understand the context of a video by identifying and indexing categories and key mentions. We also created the Marketplace, a space filled with videos and content we produced that updates dynamically to show the latest accurate information, from sports scores to stock market updates. In this way, deep learning allows the effective use of publisher and advertiser time and ad dollars.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF OPEN VIDEO PLATFORMS, AND HOW DO YOU SEE IT DEVELOP IN THE FUTURE?
At Connatix, we believe consumer engagement focuses on video. Open Video Platforms are incredibly versatile tools that enable users to increase engagement with their site. Because they will only become increasingly relied upon over time, publishers and advertisers need to invest and experiment with them now. We anticipate that ad loads will only continue to increase from a tech perspective, and the technology will have to grow with it to provide a seamless consumer experience.
WHAT “CONNATIX” DIFFERENTIATES FROM OTHER VIDEO TECHNOLOGY PLATFORMS, AND HOW IS IT UNIQUELY POSITIONED TO HELP PUBLISHERS AND ADVERTISERS?
Connatix is on a mission to help publishers do more with their content by delivering quality videos at scale. One way we’re doing this is by creating an incredibly efficient — and affordable — process for publishers and advertisers. Our video players are directly integrated with our exchange and ad server, resulting in a standalone operation that doesn’t rely on DSPs, SSPs, or other technology partners. Although, we do have integrations with the leading ones to ensure videos get to a publisher’s page.
We also offer content tools for publishers to experiment with video and expand their libraries, allowing publishers to go from content creation to monetization. With multiple ways to monetize and a focus on the experience, publishers can benefit from video advertising without compromise. We offer publishers and advertisers a unique opportunity to stand out and break through the noise, with highly immersive, first-to-market video formats, without the hassle of creating them themselves.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM THAT YOU’RE PASSIONATELY TACKLING AT “CONNATIX” AT THE MOMENT?
All too often, the audience that publishers and advertisers are trying to reach is disengaged. Connatix offers a reimagined video experience that delivers video flawlessly on any screen to tackle this issue head-on. In this way, Connatix makes enhanced engagement – and revenue – easy by providing successful video experiences without compromise.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS ON HOW THEY CAN BRING IN THE NEXT ERA OF VIDEO INNOVATION?
My advice would be to stay on top of the game and focus on what you can do to make your customers’ or partners’ lives easier. As the saying goes, if you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind. Mainly, this is true for an industry like ad tech, which constantly changes to meet consumers’ needs. So ambitious digital publishing and media professionals should stay on top of trends and continuously think of ways to improve the status quo.