Neil Patel

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In the ever-evolving landscape of entrepreneurship, there exist stories that transcend the ordinary, tales of resilience, persistence, and the pursuit of dreams against all odds. Such is the narrative woven by Philip Inghelbrecht, a seasoned entrepreneur whose journey from Bruge, the Flemish side of Belgium to the bustling streets of Silicon Valley is nothing short of remarkable.

Philip’s latest company, Boomerang, attracted funding from several small investors.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Philip’s journey underscores the importance of unwavering persistence in overcoming obstacles and achieving entrepreneurial success.
  • The mantra of prioritizing revenue generation highlights the critical role of sustainable business models in navigating turbulent market conditions.
  • Philip’s willingness to take calculated risks underscores the essence of entrepreneurship, where bold decisions often lead to transformative outcomes.
  • From Belgium to Silicon Valley, Philip’s story exemplifies the global reach of innovation and the boundless opportunities it offers.
  • Philip’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances and pivot his strategies reflects the agility required to thrive in dynamic entrepreneurial environments.
  • Strategic partnerships and collaborations played a pivotal role in sustaining and scaling Philip’s ventures, emphasizing the importance of fostering meaningful connections.
  • At the heart of Philip’s entrepreneurial journey lies a clear vision, driving him to pursue ambitious goals and redefine industries through innovation and determination.



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About Philip Inghelbrecht:

Philip Inghelbrecht is a Co-Founder & serves as Chief Executive Officer & President at Tatari. He is also the Co-Founder and serves as Co-Chief Executive Officer & Executive Chairman at Boomerang.

Previously, Philip served as an Advisor at Paraclete Capital and co-founded Shazam (a mobile music recognition app with 150+ million users). He is also a co-founder and chief executive officer at Tatari and advisor to Paraclete Capital.

Philip recently joined Yahoo through their acquisition of Rockmelt, where he was Head of Business Development. Prior to Yahoo, he was President of TrueCar (IPO) and Head of Sports and Entertainment Partnerships at YouTube (Google).

Philip is also an advisor and personal investor in multiple startups and is a self-admitted kiteboarding addict. He served as Vice President at Rockmelt. He founded Road Hero.

Born in Belgium, he currently lives in San Francisco, and when he is not spending time with his family, he enjoys skiing or kiteboarding.

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Connect with Philip Inghelbrecht:

Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:

Alejandro Cremades: Alrighty Hello everyone and welcome to the dealmakerr show. So today. We have a really amazing Founder. We have a founder that they in fact, he’s is one of the co-founders of something that I’m sure that you’ve had on your phone at some point I mean I actually have it right now my watch which is amazing. Very exciting. You know, like what he’s done multiple companies. We’re gonna be talking about the difference of going about you know building a company raising a bunch of money versus you know, like not raising so much money and he’s right now built you know a couple of Rocket Ships. You know in parallel. But again you know we’re gonna be talking about.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Inghelbrecht: Are just.

Alejandes: Persistence ho to go about you know investor pitches and and that roller coaster of emotions to us a founder. How to think about spending your money and also how to think about creating a company that is revenue generating I think that that’s quite the topic today given what’s happening in the macro environment. And then also how he went with for example with he is say first company you know from losing money to just doing a couple of deals and having the company survive. So again, a bunch of good stuff. Very inspiring conversation I had so without further ado. Let’s welcome our guest today Philip Inghelbrecht whow.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Um, thank you fantastic to be here

Alejandro Cremades: So originally baised in Belgium so ive us a walk through memory lane. How was life growing up.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Life was good really? Um I die from a family of wes I grew up in the flemish side of Belgium a city called Bruge um, but I came from ah what I would call a hardworking family small business owners. And so ah, with hindsight I learned the value the benefits from working hard at a very young age you know making some money and the kind of the soft privileges and the freedom that come with it. So so life was good I always say this like you know. When I was 18 or 18 years old I was working I had money I had multiple motorbikes I had girlfriends I was good.

Alejandro Cremades: That’s amazing now one of the at that you ended updoing is I mean you you got your studies. You know you did business engineering. You know there with with some finance involved in the 90 s but before before entering the ah the labor. You know market you know and and going and working you decided that it was you know, perhaps you know, interesting to travel. You know a little bit so what triggered you know that in and what would you say that day that that experience outside of Belgium. Perhaps you know that worldview how how did that impacted you.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Yeah, and I think it actually started in colhen I was in college would attend a university in Belgium um, enjoy that and then I mean maybe it still exists in Europe it was called the erasmus exchange program and so students from one country could study 4 it’s a semester abroad and I did that and I went to Germany I know it’s not far from Belgium it’s knavery but it was definitely an eye-opening experience right? I got to meet so many people from different places around the world and really really enjoyed it so much that when I graduated from college. Unlike any of my classmates I did not take a job I I kind of came to the realization you’re you’re 21 22 years old. You’ve never been to America you so many places you haven’t seen and so yeah instead of um, kind of um. Hopping on the treadmill and and and starting corporate live I just went traveling without much of ah a particular goal but seeing the worlds without particular timeframe I have no regrets around it if anything actually it helped me discover California that helped me discover San Francisco and the Silicon Valley and it’s something I eventually came back to years later the idea of a gap here which is commonly in places like England or Australia or New Zealand I could not more encourage that to anybody. There’s so much you can learn in the world.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Not just university.

Alejandro Cremades: So afteniversity and after te travels you decided k to Europe and you ent into investment banking.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Yeah.

Alejandro Cremades: You know you didn’t really like it mu’m sure that that the shapedttle bit when he cam to seeing what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to companies.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Yeah, for sure I mean by the way so as much as I said look I took somewhat of ah another But it’s extensive tme off I always did know what I wanted to do since I was fourteen or fifteen years old I was enamored with the. Financial world and and wall street and trading and so like I picked my feel of studies very consciously right? kind of I picked something that would get me into that very quickly and so um. I I did what I wanted to do I joined the bank I was a fixed income deriv to straighter which is kind of the hot topic back in the day and so I was really happy very proud of myself except for 1 thing I wasn’t good at it. Um I i. I looked around me and it just like it was not anate to me I I still can’t explain what it was that I was lacking but I looked at my peers my colleagues and maybe they were not as technically gifted or they didn’t necessarily understand the math and the statistics behind what we were doing but they ended up being better traders and so. If. There’s something that you’re not so good at it’s really hard to love it right? And so 7 years in um, again, no regrets. But I realized that that was not what I wanted to do for life and so I decided to go back to school and like many people kind of did an Mba.

Alejandro Cremades: I Hear you.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Very consciously right with the goal of hey how do I diversif of change my careerand so that tck to California inspred by that trip years before that right? because when I came to San Francisco the first time and I think it was 93 or ninety four I came here. I still remember this I sat on the steps of the Berkeley Football Stadium was a beautiful sunset over the golden gate and also this place this magic one day I must come back to live or to study or to work or retire here and so was an opportunity to come back on a promise which I made here earlier.

Alejandro Cremades: That’s amazing. So obviously California you know the land of opportunity the us too and I’m sure that youeriencing all the inovation happening around you and there was no other way than starting your own thing. So how was that the journey to um. Building such an iconic you know and starting such an iconic company like shasam.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Yeah, sure and like all things is a bit of a context and background. So so here I am I arrive in San Francisco start myand um I just knew tht I wanted to out of Berkeley start my own company I did not know what it was going to be. Um, also came to the realization that maybe I shouldn’t do it by myself and so there was 1 classmate his name is Chris Baron and he kind of had the same goal or feeling um, coming out of this program I want to start my own company. So let’s what what should we do? And so. Chris and I not only became great friends but or classmates. But but also business partners not knowing exactly what we’re going to do and so we would brainstorm and come up with ideas some of them absolutely crazy some of them really good. Some of them. Maybe we should have pursued. Shazam was one of those ideas it was actually Chris’s id and I liked it was right? Ah back then you could only listen kind of to fm radio or the or the the cds that you purchased and so the idea of of. Figuring out what you’re hearing in the background was was too good to be true. It was a problem that I identified myself with so I thought that was good and so we went for it now. Ignorance is bliss music recognition as we know today via sat am.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Ah, definitely didn’t exist back then it so it was a very um, it didn’t make sense but typically a technology is invented and then youd of a business appliation for It. We went the other way around were like well this would be a cool business application Now. Let’s go back and invent the technology. Ah. Unorthodox but but I guess we we saw it true.

Alejandro Cremades: And obviously you know the persistence tool that you guys had when he come to financing the business you know was um was a big one becaompany you know, raied in about 100000000 over the course of its lifetime before the acquisition by Apple but.

Philip Inghelbrecht: If.

Philip Inghelbrecht: This.

Alejandro Cremades: But it was not the it was not that easy of a journey. So so how was that the journey of raising money and going through the cycles you know for you guys.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Yeah, well of course some ah that had to do also with ah boom and bust and so there was an initial angel round that was about $1000000 and we were I’d say pretty strategic about that. Um. For example, we would raise money from people out of the music industry or the ah mobile industry and so so that was not so hard. We actually we had a really kind of like ah a good look looking group of angels so to speak now when it came to the series a which was then a seven and a half million dollars round without much of a product and just kind of a deck now that was a whole order ballgame because that’s 4001 when the market completely crashed and so I mean there’s a beautiful story of persistence in dealmaking around it. Um, we pitched over a hundred venture capital firms.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Um, say that you can do one every day which is not the reality I mean that’s you’re you’re tied up for half a year right? there and that um and and so I still don’t understand how we carried on because most people would give up. Ah but I again like not. Having much of an opportunity cost loving the idea feeling that it is possible. We saw it true. Um, and so we raised a series a I think it was August Two thousand and one something like seven and a half million dollars there’s actually a really funny story about that. Um. We had 3 investors um, one of them was Idg Ventures Europe another one was links new media that was Richard Bransome’s fund and the third one was a belgian fund flanders language valley fund and that was the Vc fund from a speech recognition company out of belgian called. Learner and hospi that sounds all good. Ah literally the day after two days after we get the money right? money’s in the bank. The round is closed that fund and the company behind it learner and huspi blew up in a big accounting scandal. If that had happened to a three days earlier we will never have completed the series. A I mean shiza may not never have gotten out of the starting blocks talking about luck.

Alejandro Cremades: Wow No Kidding no kidding now. Obviously for you going through the cycles too and and and and through building the business. You really got the exposure to the importance of creating a business that was revenue. Revenue generating and in fact, you know you had to do a couple of deals to have the company Survive. So I Guess what happened there and what did that teach you about the world of business and and creating companies.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Yeah.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Yeah, um, this is something I often say is it’s revenue to companies a little bit like oxygen if you run out of it. It’s really difficult to survive and and I know till very recently there was definitely a. Ah. A drive or a team of you know growth above revenue in the silicon valley and I’m kind of happy to see that changing again and so if I look back at chizam it was definitely that mentality. Let’s you know, invest and build and spend and then of course you run start running out of money and it gets really tough and you have layoffs and. And difficult series bes in series c um I follow the very different pad at my current company. The Tari was kind of like let’s not raise money and focus on revenue instead and that worked too which is am. There’s a beautiful story. Um. And the team of deal making which I’d love to share here is that looked shazam is known as a consumer business and and and that’s how we started and that business didn’t do so well we launched in August Two Thousand and two and if you were to look at kind of the the growth numbers. It was flatlining for years more in 5 years and and so the the question is well how did you survive that and ah the story behind that is by 2003? Um, by then really understood the company a kind of saw technology. We had the database of digital music.

Philip Inghelbrecht: I started to really understand how the music industry operated and I learned that actually the shazam technology could also be a license to other companies that needed that tech in their business. For example, Bmi right? that that that tracks. Ah, recordings and then pays out royalties or um, a clear channel who needs to report but they aired on radio. So again royalties can be paid out correctly and so unbeknownst to most people back in 2003 I did this multimillion dollar deals with these companies that would license shazam that will license the database that would license services around that ah brought and millions of dollars and that helped us feed the bleeding consumer business. Um, it’s really kind of like. Like for any founders out there that maybe find themselves in a little bit of ah, a financial trap if you’ve been long enough in your business. There’s other often angles that you can explore to make some quick money and if you can do that you can’t survive or at least you’re no longer Beholden to investors.

Alejandro Cremades: So eventually the company had a really nice outcome. You know was reported that the company got acquired by Apple for 400000000 so what was that process like of having the company go through an and a I mean what did that look like and you know.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Shoe report.

Alejandro Cremades: Make us insiders for a little bit there.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Yeah, approach single word painful. Um I I mean I always say that Apple purchased or acquired Shazam for a song but intended. Um and and here’s here’s why I would say this is that. Around that time. There was ah a new shift in music consumption away from cds buying cds into subscriptions right? Rdo and in Europe spotify also in Europe and us and what Shazam did was ah it was very obvious that there was a behavior of. Shizaming a song even if you know what it was so that you can add it to your playlist of by the Cd and Shazam would not understand or the the shazamor would not understand the value of it. What would happen is that we would sell those leads. Fairly cheaply to services like a Spotify and the better decision for shaza would have been to build its own music streaming service on top of the recognition these music streaming services back in the day the cost of goods sold was not so much the the music licenses. Because those are all performance based the costs of good sold was really customer acquisition and czam pretty much gave that away to the incumbents chizam should have built its own music streaming service on top of it and it would have been a multibillion dollar company so for me actually I know this sounds incredibly. Um.

Philip Inghelbrecht: I wouldn’t say arrogant. But but like ah silly, but but 400000000 was was not enough for a worldwide brand with an amazing technology that could have been a business with the valuations of a Spotify so was a bit painful for me to watch.

Alejandro Cremades: I hear you I hear is obviously in this case, you know, still you know first company first incredible outcome. You know, amazing! Amazing company too that you guys were able to build so in your case you know you decide you know to join Google you know out of old things. You know why would you? Why would you join a. Large corporate versus you know doing it again.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Yeah, well, um, 2 things so I was working on a startup id um and then um and somebody came in and said like hey look why don’t you join me instead. You don’t have to worry about your work visa and all that kind of stuff and and and I didn’t take risk. But I almost actually did start another company out of Shazam and I kind of regret not doing it ah with respect to Google um, now realizing two thousand and four five it wasn’t that big of a company I think he had just gone public. It was maybe like 4500 people there and at least still back then it was. Very much operating like ah like a startup. Um and I think it’s still an amazing company and so so I don’t you know I had an incredible time at Google um I very quickly started working on Youtube I mean there’s like 35 people when I kind of moved from Google to Youtube.

Philip Inghelbrecht: And so in many ways it it was a startup and it was a great time now. 3 4 years in you know, the itch came up and I wanted to be my own boss again and so that’s when I when I was sailing in the bay here I came across a gentleman. Um.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Ah, Scott Painter and he had this idea of true car. Ah servers where people can see how how much everybody really paid for the new car and it’s a bit like Shazam It’s kind of one of these problems that you identify yourself very quickly whilst it’s not oh what’s the name of the song again. It’s like oh m gee am I going to get stitched at the car dealership. But if I know what the dealer paid for the car then of course I can negotiate in a much better way and so I thought it was a brilliant idea and so whilst it wasn’t my id it definitely I could argue kind of like the company for me to run so I built a team built the product ship that’s and off we went again. Um, so yeah, back in the start of saddle.

Alejandro Cremades: And that company you guys ended up taking the you guys ended up taking the company public. What was the um devaluation at the peak of true car.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Um, um, so by the time it went public I was I had left true car. Um, my joke is always true car when at the year and which went public I believe it was 2040. My joke is always that it was both the best and the worst performing stock on Nasak in the same year. But I believe I think at one point I hit 2 two and a half billion dollars in ah and public valuation. Yeah, not anymore.

Alejandro Cremades: That’s amazing. So obviously obviously 1 thing led to the next and you know you you experience you know like perhaps you know other companies like rock melt you know where you were able to see what typically works what doesn’t work in the in the case of Rock Melt you know it was aqua hire the company by Yahoo. But this was the most immediate step for you to get going with the company that you’re running and that you created you know, ah nowadays which is tatari so what? what are you guys doing at Tatari what is the business model of tatari how do you guys make money.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Um, yes, yeah.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Yeah, sure I’ll kind of take it in that order. So we’re a technology platform for the modern television advertiser and so essentially we built I always say tech infrastructure for the Tv advertising business. Can be used by brands to run their campaigns agencies to stage Tv campaigns. But we also built tech for the networks and the publishers so that they can show the ad inventory that they have and we can transact on it in a much better way. So the company is now seven years old we have about 300 people focused on the us and a little bit of Canada companies profitable. And yeah, so we have 2 300 brands that run their Tv campaigns directly through to Tari and the tech that we have they actually don’t use an agency anymore. Or we have agencies and then licenses technology that we have so that they can provide better Tv advertising services to their brats. So that’s the tari in a nutshell. Um, yeah.

Alejandro Cremades: So with tatari you guys who and with a different approach instead of raising money you raise just a tiny bit. You know, just a tiny of it. You know, just like a seat round there and then you just like build this thing into like a 200 plus you know employee operation I mean.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Um, yeah, yeah, yeah, just.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Um, yeah.

Alejandro Cremades: That’s pretty amazing. You know, given you know the past experience and and why you had done before So why did you take this approach.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Um, um, well um, multiple things First of all, kind of a market reality is that in 2016 when I started the company I think um. Tv advertising was not a very attractive business or industry to move into as a matter of fact silicon valley considered it heresy right? And so surely I could have raised money kind of leveraging my name and track record a little bit but I would have been pretty tough. And I was just eager to kind of get going get a business growing. Um the other thing Alejandro is that I just didn’t want to raise money having raised money at czam true car and the not so pleasant experiences of having to manage his investors and boards. Um, like you instead of you like it draws your energy and attention away from where you should be I e the company and so I wonder can I do this without raising money and so from day one I was ah by lack of better english revenue obsessed. There was nothing for free ever. Um, and now why did we raise money. It’s a little bit of a personal story I was actually going through my divorce at that time and so when you go to those situations. You actually can’t really use your own money right? because otherwise it could be a conflict.

Philip Inghelbrecht: And so I couldn’t use my own money. So and I was also mortified that I was going to have ah a short liquidity gap in the business. So I just reached out to a few people and within 24 hours we we raised something like $700000 the joke of it is that because we never used it. I was always like hey can I give it back to you. But of course yeah. And of those smaller investors would take that deal. Um look I actually I really encourage people like look at angles for not having to raise money or as little as possible because it gives you control on your destiny.

Alejandro Cremades: I Hear you.

Philip Inghelbrecht: And and you can spend I mean it’s not that boards are bad right? Boards is it’s good. Everybody has a boss. Everybody has a board but um, it it doesn’t become a distraction and so only years. Yeah, so only years later did I bring in an outside board member.

Alejandro Cremades: I Totally hear you on that.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Right? somebody to help me keep me and check keep me sharp in a healthy way. Not a kind of like ah a financial like situation where you’re beholden to somebody and in in ah and a financial way.

Alejandro Cremades: So you didn’t have enough with Tatari because there is another company that you are you know, also pushing in parallel that is boomerangs. So so what happened I mean what happened here you didn’t have enough with the Tarri I mean what’s what’s going on.

Philip Inghelbrecht: I yeah yeah, yeah, so I yep. Yeah, but I hope that at one point you you you you meet with the Ceo of boomang my business partner and co-founder in it but like at fault Alejandro I walk around and I have. Plenty of business ideas. Actually I’ve probably have 10 more that I wish I could do but ideas are cheap. It’s all about the execution. So boomerang is one of those ah simple yet. So powerful boomerang builts technology for lost and found and so we start with businesses. For many businesses, an airline an airport stadium lost and found is a nuisance right? because you meet people who are stressed and you have to lock these items and try to return them and and and everything that comes with it and if you ever lose something say on an airline good luck trying to get it back is not that the. Airline doesn’t have the item they simply can’t deal with you and so we built technology to automate all of this and and make the lost and found experience through the light and so um.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Raise something like seven seven million plus for that business and we’re active in market generate revenue revenue generating so here’s a quick example if you go to universal studios and la and you lose something chances are that you’re going to get it back. Thanks to boomerang and so it’s a lovely business to be in I think it’s it’s ah a worldwide It’s a universal problem. Everybody loses stuff. Everybody finds items and so making that flawlessly work together that’s boomerang and I actually very bullish on it. I can see this boomerang being a worldwide network in the next decade

Alejandro Cremades: That’s amazing. So I’m going to put you into a time machine. Okay, and I’m going to bring you back in time where you were you know in Ucla you know studying and wondering a world where you could bring something to life. Okay.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Um, broadly.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Okay.

Alejandro Cremades: And let’s say you’re able to maybe have a sit down you know in that stadium of UCla you know, watching that the sunrise you know you’re just like able to sit down next to your younger self and you’re able to give that younger self one piece of advice before launching a business. What would that be NY even while you know now.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Yeah, um I mean I think we touched on a few right? So like. For example, I’ll be be be frugal and generate revenue. But the one that I always come back to and the one that I share with my kids almost on a daily basis is take risk. No risk, no reward the younger you are the less opportunity cost. You have the more risk you can absorb and so I think I’ve taken a fair amount of risk in my life but I it I wish I had done more. But I alluded to the fact that I didn’t start a company coming out of shazamne when I had the opportunity I should have but maybe I shouldn’t have joined Google and so yeah, maybe not a way to look at is is like yeah yeah I mean ultimately the one they were all going to die or something like that and so. Ah, people will not remember you for your failures right? People will remember you for the few sprinkles of success you had left and right so they crisk go crazy.

Alejandro Cremades: I love it Philip for the people that are listening that will love to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to to do so.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Um, yeah, but I mean you can always find me on the yeah, some social media and stuff like that sorry it’s bit difficult to give my phone number. Ah.

Alejandro Cremades: Ah I hear you so obviously Linkedin and stuff like that you you can be found there correct.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Yeah, yeah, yeah that I it’s it’s tough Alejandro like I actually like at fault I love every founder I love every company id by the way I would be the worst investor because I love everything I love I think everything is amazing. Ah. But there’s only that much you can do.

Alejandro Cremades: Absolutely absolutely well hey, well Philip. Thank you so much for being on the dealmaker show today. It has been an absolute honor to have you with us today.

Philip Inghelbrecht: Yeah, it was pleasure being here and looking forward to seeing the result.


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