Startup Savants Podcast: Interview with James Avery of Kevel

Monopolies are rarely good for consumers, and they aren’t good for advertisers, either. Nevertheless, big players like Google dominate the online ad space. James Avery joins Startup Savants to talk about how his startup aims to give advertisers more options.

  • Startup Savants is a business podcast that tells the stories behind up-and-coming startups.
  • James Avery joins Startup Savants to discuss launching his adtech startup.
  • Kevel is a startup that’s trying to foster competitive differentiation and help publishers build their own custom ad platforms.

From Software Engineer to Startup Founder

Avery used to work as a software engineer and co-founded a startup called TekPub, which helped developers continue learning and building their skills through high-quality screencasts. While trying to manage that company’s advertising network, Avery got the idea for Kevel. With more than 20 years of experience in software development, he was in a good position to get Kevel off the ground.

“I wrote all the software to run this ad network [for TekPub],” he told Startup Savants during his interview. “And over time, I realized that the software was a much more compelling business than the ad network. And I thought I could actually take that software and turn it into a full-time job.” From this epiphany, Kevel began.

‘Taking Back the Internet’

Avery explained during his interview that Kevel offers the infrastructure APIs needed to quickly build custom ad platforms for sponsored listings, internal promotions, native ads, and more. This allows brands to drive new revenue in a user-first way. His vision, Avery said, is to allow every online retailer and publisher to add privacy-focused ad revenue streams and “take back the internet from Google, Amazon, Facebook, and other digital monopolies.”

“I have a passion for what the internet is and that it’s free to use, and no matter where you are in the world or your economic background, you can find amazing diverse sets of information and ideas on the internet,” he said. “And that’s really made possible through advertising, whether we like it or not. I’m really passionate about building the systems that enable companies to be prosperous internet businesses” without having to use the likes of Google or Facebook, which take a large chunk of a company’s ad revenue.

Kevel markets its API to any company that wants to monetize its digital property with ads, and it’s starting to catch on. Customers like Ticketmaster, Yelp, Strava, Klarna, and others have already launched successful ad platforms with Kevel. 

Startup Savants Podcast 

The Startup Savants podcast is a business podcast created by The Really Useful Information Company (TRUiC). Listeners can hear the stories behind startups, as told by their founders who are in the midst of growing their companies.

Ethan, an entrepreneur, and Annaka, a branding expert, host the Startup Savants podcast. They bring disparate skills and life experiences to their interviews, providing listeners with important business insights and a holistic perspective on the startup ecosystem. 

Hear from a variety of real startup founders from around the globe and with varying backgrounds, making their startup idea a reality. Learn from experts sharing their industry knowledge on venture capital, securing funding, and more on the Startup Savants podcast. 

Final Thoughts

Kevel wants to give advertisers more options and break up the monopoly enjoyed by a few big players like Google Ad Manager. Kevel shares with listeners how he and his team overcame funding rejections and other challenges to develop server-side API ads and tools that allow companies to build advertising products. 

More episodes of the Startup Savants podcast are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Tune in for more startup stories, industry insights, and entrepreneur advice.

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