Analisa Goodin, founder/CEO of Catch&Release, on your radar as an emerging female tech innovator in the advertising world.
Her company launched in 2014 with a vision of connecting brand marketers to video created by documentary filmmakers, and it has since emerged as a major force for shifting the entire sourcing and licensing procedure for user-generated content (UGC) across the entire Internet.
In less than four years, Analisa built a customer-supported, profitable business by manually curating content for some of the world’s largest agencies and brands (such as Jeep, Red Lobster, Apple, and NBA) with a handful of internal staff; then she subsequently built a technology to automate core aspects of the manual process in order to increase productivity while reducing costs for agencies and brands alike.
Recently, Analisa closed $3M in VC funding, which is being used to invest in the product - which includes the Content Exchange™, an A.I.-backed licensing platform that manages the curation, clearance and licensing of production-quality user-generated content found on the internet.
Catch&Release (under her leadership) is dramatically enabling brands to tell amazing stories at a scale and speed they've never been able to before.
How would you describe the overall culture at your agency and would you say that there is a separate female culture?
Catch&Release is a technology company, built to fit squarely into an agency’s content curation and licensing workflow. I spent 12 years at various advertising agencies in San Francisco searching content to license it for campaigns. I realized this painstakingly manual, and typically disjointed process could be automated by technology. So I founded Catch&Release to solve this problem. Our platform is all about visibility and transparency, breaking down silos between different teams that are working on the same project — a pillar of how we work internally at Catch&Release.
In your opinion, what do you see as being the biggest change in the advertising industry since women have begun to break the “glass ceiling”?
These days, everyone is a content creator so we are seeing a wider variety of real people in content. Consumers want to see themselves represented in their favorite brands, and user-generated content is a surefire way brands can lean in to diversifying -- and expanding -- their content. I think the challenge will be to not “overdo” female representation so as not to look inauthentic. If we put so much emphasis on needing to include women, we actually end up maintaining the glass ceiling, instead of shattering it. What’s most important is mitigating polarization by showing a spectrum of possibilities.
What are some of the challenges that women still face in the industry?
As a technology company, raising venture capital is a part of our process. I have personally enjoyed working with investors; after many years of bootstrapping Catch&Release, I successfully raised our first round in 2017. I am one of a VERY small percentage of women-owned, women-founded companies that can make that claim. Less than 3% of companies founded by women have raised money from Venture Capitalists. It’s worth noting that I was pregnant with my second daughter at the time… I can’t even imagine what percentage that is! We have a lot of work to do to empower more women in leadership positions at companies, agencies and finance firms.
What steps do you take to ensure you achieve a healthy work-life balance?
Both my husband and I run our own companies, and with 7-year-old and 8-month-old daughters, getting ready in the morning is busy but we’ve developed a good routine. In order to get exercise and quality time with my youngest, I strap her into her carrier and take her on an early morning walk (30-40 min). During this time she usually naps, and I might be listening to music or a podcast, taking a call, or generally preparing for the day. In my free time or during my commute, I like to listen to podcasts about other entrepreneurs. My current favorite is How I Built This with Guy Roz. Listening to stories of other entrepreneurs -- especially those who are candid about their mistakes and failures -- allows me to take a walk in someone else’s shoes for a few minutes, which I find refreshing. It keeps me inspired, motivated, and it’s just a great way to learn. Also - I am not afraid to take vacation - I trust my team!
What professional achievement are you most proud of?
Catch&Release is redefining how creatives, producers and legal teams work together at an agency, as well as how agencies concept, pitch and execute a campaign for a brand. Our technology is changing how creatives discover content and how Business Affairs professionals safely license it -- we serve many customers and use cases from both the agency and brand sides, so there is a lot of pressure to be building for so many different types of users. Infusing technology into an ‘old school’ industry is a big feat, but I’m proud to be leading a company that is fearlessly taking it on.
Tell us about a mentor that helped guide you in your career. What made them so special?
I met a prolific executive producer in the SF Bay Area 12 years ago who is now retired, but she gave me my first opportunity as a content researcher on a brand campaign. She realized there was a need for content curation, and that I had a knack for it, but the role of a curator or researcher didn’t exist yet. Despite not having a standard role at the agency, she kept hiring me for various projects she was working on, and was my sounding board for navigating projects and the advertising industry itself. I remember once, walking back from lunch with her, she asked me who I wanted introductions to -- I wasn’t even sure what function or job title was relevant to me, let alone specific people! So beyond networking, she helped me understand how the agency world worked -- who did what, and what each team was responsible for. She continued to hire me at every critical stage in my career, and her candid, unbiased feedback and accessibility gave me the boost to take a risk and start my own company. She is still a trusted advisor to me now as a CEO.
How do you as a successful woman plan to inspire the next generation of women?
I hope that the next generation won’t focus so much on “being” a woman at all. For example, I don’t want to be known as a great female CEO, I just want to be known as a great CEO. More and more young people are adamant about taking the path of entrepreneurship, and I hope my own journey to CEO can serve as an inspiration that success take many forms. For women, specifically, I hope my story will inspire others to take risks -- whether that be asking for a promotion or raise at work, or starting a new company altogether. There are many female and male CEOs redefining how we think of success. Success might look different to some than it did 10 years ago, but that is what should be celebrated as a way to empower the next generation to take a thoughtful risk to fix big problems and leave the world better than they way they found it.