My Week: Richard Corbett, Eyetease

The entrepreneur discusses the deal he's signed with the world's biggest outdoor media company - and explains why London cabs are so tall...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
This week we announced a deal with Verifone Media that will mean our product, the iTaxitop – a digital advertising board that goes on top of taxis – will be offered to 6,000 London cabbies. Verifone is the biggest transport media company in the world, so it’s very exciting. It could eventually reach 45,000 taxi drivers worldwide.

The deal has been four years in the making. I started my company, Eyetease, in 2010, when I was 24. I had been travelling to New York a lot for my previous job, where the taxi top concept had been around for 40 years. But the ads weren’t targeted, so they were irrelevant 99% of the time. I thought if I could turn the taxi into a roaming digital portal where each advert was targeted by location, time of day, what’s going on in the news, etc, then suddenly taxis would become the most powerful digital outdoor media format.  

It took a few years to develop – there were limitations with battery, power, weight, fuel consumption, vibration issues and so on. But Verifone was one of the first companies we spoke to. They said ‘we tried something like this and failed – but here’s what you can learn from the mistakes we made, good luck’.

On Sunday, we had a celebratory brunch to coincide with a story that appeared in the Sunday Times, but there won’t be any big parties. You’ll find that when you sign a contract, that’s when the hard work begins – you don’t relax.

Being an entrepreneur is hard work – every day, you’re fighting a new barrier someone’s thrown in front of you. Most days I’m up at eight, in the office (we’re based at the Google Campus in east London) at nine – and I’m in until about 10pm most evenings.

To compete with large companies, you find that you’re working six days a week, making calls in the morning to the Far East, talking to Russia in the afternoon and in the evening you’re talking to the USA – all the way to the West Coast at 12 at night.  If you want to make a sale to San Diego, you have to be on the phone with them – and if they want to make the call at 6pm, you’ve got to do it at two in the morning. It’s a tough job.

And at this stage in the sales process, you can’t relax – you have a completely new role. You’re at that next stage. The client has the product, they love the product – now you’re about to enter reality.

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