Web Ad Sales Pioneer Sees Parallels in Burgeoning Stem Cell Industry

Online ad industry pioneer Christopher Theodoros is no stranger to startups and emerging industry. So, it’s no surprise the early DoubleClick and Google exec is back at it, communicating the message of another burgeoning industry and planning to emphasize digital marketing in the process.

This time around, though, Theodoros isn’t spreading the word about cookies and ad targeting. Rather, he’s preaching about stem cells. Theodoros is principal of StemSave, a year-old company that enables a procedure for collecting stem cells from teeth, and stores them.

Though the medical field may seem miles away from online advertising, he’s experienced a bit of déjÀvu in his current role. “There’s a very interesting parallel [to DoubleClick’s early years] in the stage in which StemSave is existing,” he said.

Theodoros said discussions he’s having today about stem cells are “remarkably similar in feel to some of those conversations I had back in those days.” Among the first people to sell at DoubleClick in the late ’90s — back when it was an ad network — he often found himself explaining the basics of online advertising to ad agency folks.

“We spent most of our time demystifying what a cookie was,” he told ClickZ News.

Theodoros believes things such as scale, quality assurance, and network distribution � “many of the same things that helped companies like DoubleClick and Google be successful” — are all characteristics of his new venture.

“Distribution via a network effect have all been attributes of any disruptive technology area and regenerative medicine is certainly that.” The network effect, in the case of StemSave, is its network of dental professionals enrolled in the stem cell harvesting program. Currently, according to Theodoros, there are “hundreds” who can perform the procedure, which typically costs under $600. Dental stem cells have been tested for use to repair bone, skin, and organ tissue.

Given his interactive ad background, Theodoros expects digital marketing to be an important component of the company’s overall marketing strategy. Although he said it’s too early to discuss tactics, he said he expects the marketing budget’s share for digital “to be significant because of the inherent advantages and efficiencies therein.” He added the firm will be focused on branding for business-to-business and business-to-consumer purposes.

So far, he said, “viral and word of mouth [marketing] tend to be tremendously successful.” As for restrictions on how the company can market its services, Theodoros said there are no specific government guidelines for that right now, adding, “We tend to be very conservative in terms of our messaging.”

Following his sales stint with DoubleClick, Theodoros joined Google to head up its worldwide ad agency relations in 2002, long before the search giant acquired the ad management firm. In part because of a personal interest in stem cell research, he joined StemSave’s business advisory council about a year ago. “I’ve been able to see this idea move from being an idea on a piece of paper to a reality,” he said.

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