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Fobi Insider - Episode 15: The Next Chapter

As part of Loop's recent rebrand to Fobi, the Loop Experience Podcast is becoming Fobi Insider. On today's episode, CEO Rob Anson returns for an exclusive interview to share his perspective and goals behind the rebrand.

As part of Loop's recent rebrand to Fobi, the Loop Experience Podcast is becoming Fobi Insider.

On today's episode, CEO Rob Anson returns for an exclusive interview to share his perspective and goals behind the rebrand. 

Tune in to gain a deeper understanding of our company's roots in the Fobi device, and why we are creating a refreshed brand strategy that puts it front and center.

Listen to Fobi Insider - Episode 15: The Next Chapter

The following is a transcript of the conversation between Fobi Marketing Director Devon Seidel and CEO Rob Anson.

Fobi CEO Rob Anson: 18 months we've been so wrapped up and consumed in growing the product, commercializing, implementing, and executing. We've put a great deal of time and focus as you guys have put into the marketing team and some of the other third-party groups that have helped us with this relaunch, if you will, from an investment perspective as well. I think the new message now is a lot clearer as to the points of differentiation and value, where we're strong in the market, where we fit in the market, but more importantly now as we move towards revenues and commercialized agreements is what does this truly mean from a monetization perspective, and month over month, quarter after quarter, year after year revenue growth perspective. We're checking those boxes and putting a great deal of focus, time, and efforts into them.

Fobi Marketing Director Devon Seidel: You're listening to the Fobi Insider Podcast. Join us for exclusive interviews, behind the scenes updates, and all things Fobi. Coming at you from the Fobi head office in Vancouver, I'm your host Dev.

Welcome to the first official podcast under the company named Fobi. Today, we'll be discussing with Rob Anson, CEO, the purpose of changing the name from Loop Insights to Fobi and the focus of the company moving forward. Welcome back to the show, Rob. I know you're very excited to talk about the story behind changing the company name and also where we're going with this company name and the reason for becoming Fobi. I'd first like to talk about Fobi Suite. That was where we originally started. Then, under Loop Insights, we named our proprietary IOT product to Fobi, and now we've decided to fully transition the company to Fobi. Let's start by telling our listeners where Fobi came from and why the name Fobi.

Rob: Well, Fobi came from, as you've mentioned, Fobi Suite Technologies, which was our private company where we developed the product and a lot of our capabilities today that were then licensed and then rolled into Loop Insights. Fobi Suite is an acronym that we came up with, was front office business intelligence. It was kind of applicable to where we were headed from a data aggregation standpoint and all these various applications that we've designed and developed over the course of the last five years. For us, I think it's a great change. It's something we've discussed for a couple of years for many reasons. The company has obviously grown tremendously, and other assets outside of it, specifically Insights, kind of pigeonholed us.

Obviously, from SEO perspective and whatnot, there's a lot of challenges. You know, even coming down to our ticker symbol, we went with Matrix because of a background story and whatnot, but it's a little challenging when the ticker symbol does not match the name of the company first and foremost. Then, as we added an OTC listing, Loop wasn't available. Matrix wasn't available, so literally our CFO went with RACMF, which I asked what the heck is that? He goes that's your initials and Casey's initials. I shook my head and went okay this is enough, and that's kind of what put me over the tipping point.

Tremendous growth from startup to mid-level and now working towards enterprise, I really wanted for us to have our own distinct brand and reputation, of course. When we started to look at all of these, you know when is the right time, there's never really a truly right moment. But, with the accelerated growth of the company over the last several months here, we felt it was a great time to relaunch as we're laser focused as to who we are becoming and the vision of which we've put together here over the course of the last few years being executed now, and really refining that corporate messaging, investor messaging, and products as well definition.

Devon: Now, I want to touch on something you said there, too. The company that we are becoming, or the company that we know we are going to be, when I think about back to our focus two, three years ago as really starting as Loop, our core product and our core focus was on connecting data and in real-time to improve business. That was through Insights, so hence the name Loop Insights. At the time, I really felt that it fit, but I think as we start to expand and we're building and acquiring new technologies, we really started to understand what our differentiator was in the marketplace and the value that we were able to provide on top of just real-time insights. Like you said, that name of Loop Insights kind of pigeonholed us into something that we did really well, but it also set us as an insights company. That's really not what we are. That's what comes out of our ability to offer interoperable connectivity, is the insights. But, then on top of that, there's the engagement, actioning, and finishing that last inch.

I think finding our foundation and our core product, and that being our differentiator, was such a smart move to move towards that being the base of our company because we look at our messaging. Our messaging back there kind of just became so broad and expanded because we're trying to tie everything in and connect different pieces, but really the core of our company is Fobi. We're always trying to connect it back to Insights, and that wasn't what we were really trying to do. Like you always say, we're trying not to boil the ocean, but if we can really distill everything back into the core value of the company, it's a lot more solid of a foundation moving forward.

Rob: Well, most definitely, and we've received such great third-party validation from Tellus, NTT, Sobeys, Nielsen, Coupon Bureau, and Oracle, and the list goes on and on and on. I think when we look from the investor perspective as well, people are new to the story. They click on a web page and aren't quite sure what to think. That's a little challenging for us as a company and myself when I'm out there pitching the story and introducing the story. I say we don't sell ice cream. As I always say, it's a bit of a complex story and something with artificial intelligence, real-time applications, and interoperable data connectivity, as you put it, Devin. These are things that people aren't typically accustomed to hearing and understanding. Hence, for us, I felt the right time was now to truly define the messaging from whether it's an institutional retail perspective from an investment world or from a lead generation and partner perspective as to here's what we do. Here's the holes and gaps that we fill in the marketplace today and, more importantly, here's how we transcend the retail experiences Nielsen put it.

Devon: I agree. While we were doing this refocus and relaunch a Fobi, we really looked at what is the key messages and the key value proposition that we provide. I just want to quickly go through those just so we can establish those five key messaging, the key messages that we're providing to the industry through our products and our services. The first being connectivity that creates engagement, so being able to action insights and increase personalization and profit. Number two, delivering collaborative experiences. This one's an important one for us. Collaborating with best of breed partners, like Tellus, Ven, Shopify to offer that ideal cohesive solution. We're not always looking to build everything ourselves. We find that partnerships are so strong in the industries that we play in. Implementing automation that drives decisions, this one is super important as we move forward with the company, so taking the manual processes out of the equation and really helping our clients become more efficient and effective with what they're doing. The fourth one, driving real-time actionable insights. This does go back to our original brand of Loop Insights, that ability to provide insights that make faster, smarter data driven decisions. Then, the last one being a very important piece of actually what the Fobi hardware does is providing that end to end approach and optimizing touch points and activating that last inch so we can really tie that offline transaction to that online transaction and create that full Omni channel experience.

I think us really structuring the company now, and that leads back to exactly what you said, messaging that goes out to our investors, our customers, our customers' customers, to understand what we do we've now created this foundation of who we are so we can really explain and expand easily. So, as we move forward into the future, potentially acquire new companies, or acquire and build new technology, they fit under this cohesive brand that we've created.

Rob: Most definitely. It's very clear as to the direction of where we're headed internally now that the investment world and retail world will understand exactly who the power of Fobi is as a company now and product standpoint, for sure.

Devon: I want to touch on that point, too. You probably have the best understanding of our investors, what they're looking for, what the different levels of understanding is coming from different types of investors. How do you foresee this change to Fobi will help with our corporate messaging and your ability to really tell the story?

Rob: Well, most definitely, as I alluded to earlier, when you're trying to tell a complex story, it's a little challenging when you have so many different fragments within. As we've made a few acquisitions, we've evolved our own IP, technology, and applications. We've spent a great deal of time and focus now on the investment side as the last, let's call it, 18 months we've been so wrapped up and consumed in growing the product, commercializing, implementing, and executing. We put a great deal of time and focus as you guys have put into the marketing team and some of the other third party groups that have helped us with this relaunch, if you will, from an investment perspective as well. I think the new message now is a lot clearer as to the points of differentiation of value, where we're strong in the market, where we fit in the market.

But, more importantly now, as we move towards revenues and commercialized agreements is what does this truly mean from a monetization perspective and month over month, quarter after quarter, year after year revenue growth perspective. We're checking those boxes and putting a great deal of focus, time, and efforts into that.

Devon: We've talked about where Fobi has come from. Let's talk a little bit more about what we're doing as Fobi now. We've touched on the messaging and how the messaging is going to create a solid foundation, but let's actually look at the output that as a company we're doing. We've seen Fobi grow from that little startup down the block to now this well-respected company that's dealing with enterprise brands, such as Tellus, Sobeys, Amazon, and Oracle, and so many others. What is your current vision of what we're doing and the places that you are really proud of seeing this company grow to?

Rob: Well, I think you touched on under earlier, Devin. We have the ability to connect and enhance all of the various IT infrastructure already in place. You're not square hole, round peg scenario. We're filling holes and gaps, really. As businesses are looking to evolve in the digital transformation that we've seen as a result of COVID with the use of QR codes again and contactless experience of which we create, it's the perfect storm, right? If you look at Apple, the support we're getting from Apple and Google, it's absolutely tremendous because it's driving and accelerating the adoption of their own existing platform of which we're leveraging. It's put us in some very strong positions. We'll continue. The world is going mobile. It's going digital. There's no denying that. I'm down here a moment in Las Vegas working with some pretty large casino groups as you're well aware of.

They've been fat, happy, and content with collecting the coffers from pennies, quarters, and whatnot that they used to plug into slot machines. Now, it's going ticketless and paperless. They're trying to figure out how do we move this towards a mobile capability where you can tap your phone on the machines and have it tied to your wallet. The world is truly going mobile and digital. That's where I'm focused on taking us is unlocking the world of big data, leveraging and monetizing the data that each and every organization has today from a monetization and monetary perspective. But also, it's about creating curating journeys and experiences. As we discuss real-time data segmentation Loop possesses and the ability to leverage and action that to provide a better digital experience, yes, but personalization. Everyone is going towards the goal of hitting personalization, and that's our strongest point actually as a company, ingesting the data, analyzing it in real-time while you're sitting there and your items are going through the til, being able to understand you as a shopper both online and offline.

Now, mobile commerce is a big part of this in tying that interoperable data connectivity ability together to provide that world of segmentation and personalization that all the CPGs and retailers are trying to move towards.

Devon: Let's talk about those actual retailers or customers that you're targeting. We're not a massive team. We're not a thousand person team. We are a very agile light team, so we really have to be strategic about who are the accounts we are going after, who are the customers, who are we partnering with to really see growth potential and internal and external growth of the company. How have you strategized moving or selecting the partners that you want to grow with?

Rob: It's very industry specific. We all know how big grocery is and convenience. Throw on top of there the CPG, the coupon bureau component of what we're doing now with 8112 and the digital authenticity of it, it's something that for us, all of our products are built to scale because they're wash, rinse, repeat. This is the world of automation. Your guys' ability to stand up large, huge events like WBC and others you've done in a matter of days, right? Where most implementations you're talking 60, 90, 120 days. Our ability which we've created through automation and through processes here enables us to be extremely agile to your point, but to achieve global scale rather quickly because the foundation is there. It's just replicated over and over and over. It systems and processes.

Devon: I love how these key messages are coming up as we're just having this conversation tying back to automation, scale, and partnership, which I think just goes to show the work that we did to build that messaging foundation is really going to be clear for people going forward. We've talked about what we're doing now, talked about the past of where Fobi came from, so I'd like to ask you where do you potentially see Fobi in a year from now, two years from now?

Rob: I see us as a global leader in data intelligence, real-time applications. That's who we are. That's what we are. For us, we've found an incredible team. It still blows my mind when I look at it. Devin, you're one of the most senior people there, right in that office. They always say you're only as good as the people you surround yourself with. One of my proudest things is the team that we have today. We've got absolutely incredible people that have left huge organizations to join what was a startup because they understand and identify where the world's going. Finding our abilities and key differentiators in the marketplace today, that disruption is why they're here and everyone's pushing. This has been a huge overhaul for you guys, and I'd say I'm very happy to move into the post rebrand where we can get back to focusing more on messaging and opportunities. But, no, for us, it's very specific now. It's a focus of leadership in these various applications in opportunities that we have.

Devon: Our team has certainly grown, especially on the development side. We have a very strong development team that is focused on so many different aspects and focusing on different strategies of how do we look at what customers are doing, maintaining current customers, building out new technology for the future so we're always ready for that next step as well.

Rob: It's great, too, because we do. We have talented individuals, and there's egos in a room around a table. That's why I always like an open door challenge everything we do because without that you don't truly achieve your highest output and performance. For us, we have a great team, a lot of analytical thinkers, such as yourself, that looks at every angle as to getting it right and not putting something out there that is not what we're proud of.

Devon: Rob, previously, you touched on the timing of the rebrand. I think it also comes at such a great time when we are starting to see the world reopen from this pandemic. You're in Vegas right now. You obviously are seeing firsthand how America is starting to reopen and probably talking with customers that are realizing after they've been closed for so many months that this is a transition that they need to focus on. Customer engagement is something they need to focus on and, like you said, digital and mobile first is definitely something that they need to focus on. Can you give our listeners what people are saying and what are these people that you're talking to excited about?

Rob: Well, revenue, people. Their businesses are full again. Down here for Memorial Day weekend, it's the largest booking rates they've ever had. One of the challenges here is transportation actually. Uber and Lyft, they can't get drivers. People are happy to sit at home and collect their subsidies, which are 10 times higher than I thought they were issued. People are making $5,000 a month for sitting on their couch. They're not really motivated to go drive their car around the block and drop me off meeting to meeting. But, business has changed, right? The world has changed as we know it. There's no denying that. These groups are now looking at, now that they've survived the storm if you will, how do we transform our business?

It's all about profitability I'm hearing in every conversation. It's all about guest experience, digital experience, mobile experience specifically. For us, this is the perfect storm. COVID has really accelerated our business. We've been able to develop some great platforms, our venue management, and all the videos that we've shared. People understand what that is and what it means, and the great successes of the NCAA events and PGA and other ones we've done for sports and entertainment. It's now to see the retail in the food and beverage and stuff truly get back to hospitality. I've had some great meetings with convention groups down here as well throughout my stay. All the sport leagues are still looking to refine that digital experience. It's the perfect storm for Loop.

Devon: That's great to hear. I'm super excited about this because I know the activations that we've been running on the tail end of COVID have been really engaging and really exciting because of the different aspects that we can do. But, I can only imagine as things start to open up more, as people are recognizing that they need to make this change to their business, just the type of projects and activations that we're going to be able to work on.

Rob: A big part of it, too, that I saw, I got invited with MGM to go to the Knights game, the playoff game the other night. It was very interesting when they asked me my opinion of the experience. We have a huge opportunity in this space. There's no denying that. The great thing is businesses are really looking at their business now from a micro level, not just macro. They're looking to improve every touch point and every data point that they have and looking to monetize that. That's where we definitely excel.

Devon: That's great to hear. I'm very excited about the future and what's to come with Fobi. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule. As you're now starting into travel more, do more meetings in person, that's super exciting to hear. Thank you for taking the time again, Rob.

Rob: Of course.

Click here for all episodes of the official podcast of Fobi: ‘Fobi Insider' (Previously Loop Experience).

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