Ad Answers – Interview with Jebbit’s Tom Coburn

by / ⠀Entrepreneur Interviews Entrepreneurship / March 27, 2014

Tom Coburn Headshot

We all love online advertising!  The wonderful pop-up videos, banner ads, and numerous links to click appearing while getting our daily fix of streaming television shows online makes our daily lives better, right?  Odds are that online ads and have little effect on your daily life.   Outside of an annoyance and a little bit of waster times, you quickly forget online ads and have gain lasting impression of the brands that were begging for your attention.  Jebbit co-founder Tom Coburn realized the ineffectiveness of the current forms of online ads one day while he opened a second browser instead of watching a video ad.  The advertiser whose ad was being displayed was just wasting money while also wasting Tom’s time.  The idea for Jebbit was born to battle the low impact ads that were wasting the time and money of brands and consumers.

There was a time when banner ads were all the rage, but Tom stated that click rates of static banner ads can be as low as 00.05%.  Even modern ad types are starting to lose their luster as *bounce rates range from 70-90%. Jebbit saw this as a big opportunity for a new entrant into the market and decided to offer ‘post-click engagement.’ Post-click engagement helps ensure that someone who clicks on a page engages with the brand instead of bouncing off of the page and costing the advertiser money in the process.  The model has worked very well for Jebbit, who now employs 13 full-time employees and has worked with over 100 brands, including Coca-Cola and Spotify.

Tom describes Jebbit as an “online advertising platform that allows brands to better understand (if) they are getting their message across to consumers through their online ads.”  Instead of banner ads, video ads that play before a streamed video or having an advertiser Pay Per Click (PPC), Jebbit created Cost Per Correct Answer (CPCA). CPCA engages the audience directly and is in-line with Jebbit’s beliefs that brands should never have to pay for ads unless a customer engages with the ad. “The true value doesn’t come from a click or impression but really comes from the interaction and engagement you can get from a consumer once they click and get to your website.” With CPCA, brands get the chance to ask questions to the consumer about the content they are shown and receive feedback based on their advertisements.

Jebbit Team Pic

The company’s growth has been fueled by a strong team and a dedicated founder and CEO in Tom Coburn.  Tom does not have years of experience in the industry and wasn’t even a business school student when deciding to pursue Jebbit full-time.

Tom was a biology and theology double major at Boston College and he had planned on pursuing medical school upon graduating.    With a team of several friends, Tom tried pursuing about 5-6 other business ideas before Jebbit.  After getting some early momentum, the team won the Boston College Venture Competition.  The group was accepted into the Summer@Highland program where they received office space, startup capital, and mentors.  The founders quit their ‘normal’ jobs to focus full-time on Jebbit.

“I haven’t taken a marketing or business class yet, but I’ve definitely learned a lot over the past few years.”

Tom is one of a growing number of college students who dropped out to pursue their business.  I asked Tom how a young entrepreneur can know if it’s an opportunity worth leaving school.  “At the end of the day we really just did what was going to make us the most happy every day. I don’t think it’s as much about how big the business is going to be or how successful do we know it’s going to be.  So much of that is unknown going into it.  What really allowed us to make the decision was knowing we had the security of going back to school whenever we wanted and doing what we thought was going to make us happy every day.”

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for fellow young entrepreneurs?

A: “Make sure you are doing something every day to move the business forward.”

Moving forward, Jebbit will be working on getting the word out to digital marketers and brands about the value that CPCA can provide.  The company is looking to hire additional talent in technology and sales as they continue to improve the product and scale the company.  “Over the next year we hope to become more well-known and become the standard for post-click engagement and what you do with a consumer after the click and after the impression.”

Get the full story, listen to the full interview with Tom Coburn below!

Interview Highlights

– Insights on how Jebbit is standing out in a crowded industry.

– How the name Jebbit came from an original co-founder and Tom’s mother.

– What was the worst business idea you’ve ever had? Freshman year at Boston College, as a pre-med major, Tom teamed up with several friends and partners to start a business that would allow women to give themselves an at-home pap smear test.  The group was able to get certified to host clinical trials, but the business fell apart due to not being the right fit.

– If you could add one entrepreneur in the world to your team at Jebbit, who would it be and why? “I would definitely have to say I’m most inspired by Elon Musk. Everything he has been able to accomplish is truly amazing.”

– If you had to start a business in a different industry, what industry would it be and why? “I’d love to start something in the healthcare field.”

*Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.  Some bounce rates are also associated with a specific amount of time before closing or navigating to a different website.

Listen to the full interview here:


About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.