Entrepreneurial mind of the month: Vincent Philips

TiCaPro: bringing users to advertisement

It used to be a welcome break, an inspiring message or even a moving story: the commercial break. Nowadays, however, the advertisement is everywhere. It is too much, too intensive and too intrusive. No wonder that ad blockers were invented and that people developed a good eye for that tiny red “x” in the corner.

Vincent Philips, master student Artificial Intelligence at the Radboud University, decided to resolve this by changing the way the advertisers and users interact. Using the so-called reversed targeting, he brings the user to the advertisement instead of the other way around. “Advertisers are actually throwing away money, because more than the half of the viewers are not even remotely interested in the ads. At TiCaPro we enable the viewer to choose the ads themselves, based on their interests,” says Vincent.

TiCaPro, short for Time Cash Professionals, is an app that provides a solution for the advertiser and the user. Instead of recommending random products and services, TiCaPro asks the users what topics they are interested in and generates content custom made for that specific user. Also, TiCaPro offers small financial rewards, in the form of tica-coins, for watching a full commercial, reading the newsfeed or participating in a poll. These tica-coins can be transfered by a user to his/her bank or paypal account. In addition, TiCaPro offers discount in case of a purchase. “Basically, the users choose the ads themselves and get rewarded for their choice. A free drink at the movie theater, for instance. As for the advertisers, they can target that specific group that is actually interested in making a purchase. It’s a win-win solution,” explains Vincent.

When Vincent first came up with the idea, he developed his minimal value product himself. After showing that to the investors, he received funds in order to surround himself with a team of programmers, design and user interface specialists and other consultants. After developing the app for two years, it is finally ready to be launched into society. “The funny thing is that TiCaPro became a high quality product, although the company is still in its early phase stage.”

The larger issue for Vincent today is how to resolve the content problem. “It is very difficult to reach the big coorperation advertisers and it is even more difficult to convince them to work with me, although TiCaPro offers an unique high quilaty service we still have a relative smal user base. Basically, I need high quality ads in order to attract the users, but I need enough users to get the high quality ads. Thankfully, I’ve managed to enter the partnership with Outbrain, who provide the newsfeeds for the app”, explains Vincent.

Regardless of the issues Vincent still needs to figure out, he is positive and hopeful about the future. “Right now I’m focussing on the big release in the Netherlands and Germany and hoping to grow and expand shortly after the launch. I strongly believe in the value of TiCaPro for the users as well as for the advertisers and I’m sure they will be convinced after trying it out.”

The TiCaPro app is currently in closed beta and scheduled to be released in july. Visit www.TiCaPro.com to advertise on TiCaPro or to participate in the closed beta.