Interview with Guy Tytunovich, Founder and CEO at CHEQ
Know My Company
Tell us about your journey into cybersecurity. What made you found CHEQ?
I founded CHEQ in 2014 together with fellow cybersecurity experts, graduates of the renowned 8200 cyber intelligence unit of the IDF, which I am a proud graduate of myself. I have been founding companies that are at the intersection between cybersecurity, AI, NLP and martech in the past 8 years, including AdZouk and BigaBid.
My experience led me to understand the most pressing problems of brands and advertisers, such as brand safety and ad fraud. The idea of safeguarding the world’s leading brands through the use of new, cutting-edge technology, was just incredibly appealing to me, and the industry was yearning for solutions. Since CHEQ was founded, it became a Battery Ventures portfolio company (one of the world’s largest VCs) and has been selected by Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz and Turner to be a part of their global innovation program – The Bridge.
What are the foundational tenets of AI-based security platform?
The foundation of CHEQ’s approach to AI-based security is what we like to refer to as HQRA (High-Quality Rapid Analysis). My experience as an 18-year-old in the Intelligence Corps of the Israeli Defense Forces taught me to compensate for a lack of scale and manpower by focusing on automation and speed. It really resonates with the entire team at CHEQ.
A battle against billions of threats each day can only be won by a technology that is able to imitate the human brain. It entails our core principle – that we base our decision-making on analyzing massive amounts of data, at record speed. This allows us to take decisions in real-time, preventing damage before it occurs, rather than detecting it after the fact.
What does your ‘Ideal Customer’ Profile look like? Which new geographies are you currently targeting?
At CHEQ, we work with leading advertisers, be it brand or agency.
Typically, we deal directly with CMO’s who look to ensure their brand is displayed in brand-safe environments, and with CDO’s who are looking to improve ROI by removing fake traffic from the supply chain. In terms of geography, CHEQ operates globally – with offices in Tel-Aviv, Tokyo and New York, and sales teams across APAC, LATAM, and MENA.
Wherever there are big brands looking to advertise in safe environments, we provide our solution.
How could B2B tech companies and ecommerce brands benefit from leveraging CHEQ?
CHEQ can benefit any company engaged in significant online advertising.
On the demand side, we provide companies with complete, real-time ad-fraud prevention, brand-safety enforcement, and guaranteed viewability. For supply-side companies, we help them “clean up” their supply chain and ensure their advertisers are safe.
How do you make CHEQ’s Autonomous Brand Safety deliver economic benefits as well as social goodwill?
Well, the economic benefits are very clear and demonstrable – by helping prevent ad fraud, enforcing brand-safety and guaranteeing viewability, we save advertisers anywhere between 15%-30% of their ad-spend. And that’s just from an ROI perspective. When you look at the potential damage of negative content associated with the brand’s image, you realize that a lot of the damage we’re preventing goes way beyond the dry numbers.
However, at CHEQ, we do have a greater mission, which is to protect the integrity of our beloved internet. People forget that what drives the “free-internet” ideal is advertising, and if the digital supply chain lacks trust and transparency, then the internet becomes an unsustainable model.
Tell us more about your automated plug-and-play prevention solution? What makes it stand out in advertising ecosystem?
The first generation of ad verification solutions provides the exact opposite of an automated, plug-and-play solution. They use dated methodologies like impression sampling, keywords lists and blacklisting to tackle a problem which requires the most cutting-edge tech.
As a result, they can’t really prevent the damage, and so they focus on reporting the damage after the fact. This, of course, requires teams of analysts to run through piles of brand-safety, fraud and viewability reports, analyze the data, generate insight and optimize for future campaigns. And all this time, the damage continues, and the improvement is incremental, at best.
CHEQ’s autonomous solution means that we prevent the damage, automatically, before it occurs, with no need to rely on manual optimization, and without bombarding our clients with futile reports. With first-gen solutions, the advertiser ends up working for the platform, with CHEQ – the platform does the work for the advertiser, and actually delivers results.
How do we do this?
We look at massive amounts of data, in real time, using advanced proprietary AI and NLP modules to make on-the-spot decisions before the ad is served. This fully autonomous system immediately flags any brand-damaging content, fake users or unviewable placements, and prevents the ad from serving when it shouldn’t.
Tell us about your research programs and the most outstanding customer acquisition campaigns at CHEQ.
At CHEQ, we do voluminous research, primarily into the scope, scale, and effects of brand safety, and ad fraud on the industry. In fact, we have just completed a massive study with IPG, where we tested the effect of negative content association on the consumer’s perception of the brand.
The results will be published shortly, and I think the industry will be surprised at just how detrimental negative content can be to a brand’s image.
In terms of customer acquisition, our goal has always been to get tested directly against first-gen solutions. To that end, we continuously highlight the shortcomings of these solutions, challenge the advertisers to leave behind the rubber-stamp solutions, and adopt a real solution that actually works.
How do you plan to make Blockchain security more accessible to local communities? What are the major challenges to the adoption of Blockchain in advertising?
In theory, decentralization of the supply chain together with the use of ledgers could help make digital advertising more transparent. However, at this point, it seems that speed and scale would pose major issues for adopting blockchain as a real solution.
The Crystal Gaze
What AI and cybersecurity start-ups and labs are you keenly following?
I love the work being done by Innoviz in autonomous driving. In cybersecurity, I think DarkTrace are making great use of AI as well. Also, I closely follow the MIT Media Lab who have always led with cutting-edge work and research. In addition, I would recommend following the likes of Nick Bostrom on General AI (and the philosophy behind it) and Dr. Jonathan Mugan (on NLP).
What technologies within AI/ blockchain and computing are you interested in?
We’re strongly focused here at CHEQ on Natural Language Processing, which is the key component to smart decision-making in brand-safety. In addition, we’re obsessing about image and audio recognition which will be key to delivering brand-safety in non-textual environments.
As an AI leader, what industries you think would be fastest to adopting blockchain with smooth efficiency? What are the new emerging markets for AI/ blockchain technology markets?
I believe any industry looking to remove intermediaries should at least be looking into blockchain solutions. I think the emerging industries to adopt solutions of this nature will be real estate, and perhaps insurance.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Thank you, Guy! That was fun and hope to see you back on AIthority soon.
CHEQ. Operating out of Tel-Aviv, Tokyo and New-York. Developed by a team of military cyber technologists. Members of Coca-Cola’s, Turner’s and Mercedes-Benz’ commercialisation program – Bridge Builders, IAB TechLabs and the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG). Battery Ventures portfolio company.
CHEQ is introducing Autonomous Brand Safety – The most powerful, fully automated tool to protect the world’s leading advertisers from negative content association and digital ad fraud. We utilize military-grade NLP and machine learning to prevent brands, in real-time, from serving ads to brand-damaging content and fake bot traffic.