Nick Pinks, founder and CEO of Covatic

Photo of Nick Pinks

Nick is a chartered engineer who has experience in technical development and commercial partnerships. Before founding Covatic, Nick worked at Imagine Technology as a Solutions Specialist, responsible for designing and delivering systems for major broadcasters and content providers such as ITN, Comcast and Disney. As ex-BBC technology transfer manager and R&D engineer, Nick has a rare insight into the challenges of using technology to improve consumers’ broadcast experience. Heading up the company as CEO, Nick’s extensive knowledge of building dynamic content capabilities for broadcasters has been key to the creation of Covatic’s unique research-based solutions. Prior to this Nicholas worked for BBC R&D for seven years. During which time he was involved in projects including IP Studio, a model for end-to-end broadcasting that frees producers from the constraints of existing studio technology. He was part of the team responsible for laying the groundwork for a number of the BBC’S ‘Future Internet’ activities including personalisation, persuasive media and new content experiences. He also gained experience in negotiating complicated IPR licence deals.

Covatic is a software company, founded out of the University of Oxford and is a built with broadcast experts and academic leaders coming together to revolutionise the audience experience. Our software helps broadcasters and publishers to deliver the content their viewers want, exactly when they want it. By using detailed – yet anonymous – information about what each person enjoys watching, reading or listening to, they can connect with the individual, taking personalisation to a new level. This contextual understanding of audiences allows broadcasters and publishers to transform the viewing experience from impersonal and unsatisfying to relevant, contextual and accessible.

Covatic has a growing team of developers, data scientists and industry experts. Our platform enables broadcasters to create a mobile first, bespoke channel for each individual audience member; establishing one-to-one relationships. For the user, this means an effortless and ‘serendipitous’ experience that cuts through the noise. For the broadcaster, it increases their audience engagement, insights, and ultimately the value of their content. Our user-centric approach to design means personal data remains on the user’s device and under their control. This allows a deep understanding of a user’s context and preferences without compromising their privacy or regulations.

What is your background? What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
Covatic Logo

Covatic formally started in February 2017, however the idea to revolutionise the media experience through personalisation has been in development since 2015. It was apparent that the broadcast manufacturing industry was struggling to cope with the rate of change, and traditional publishers were constrained by outdated technology. This presented a phenomenal opportunity to help change the world and Covatic jumped at the chance.

What is your definition of entrepreneurship?

The ability to believe in a vision, often not obvious to many and effectivity communicate it, in such a way that people get behind it and feel so inspired that they personally invest time, money and emotion into delivering it with you.

How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?

When the world’s leading broadcaster, the UK’s most trusted brand approached us; as our software is uniquely able to deliver their vision.

What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?

Vision – having a well-defined, clear vision and be able to communicate it successfully both externally and to your team
Focus – taking the idea from conception to successful delivery but also flexible to changes as needed on the journey
Energy – ability to motivate people to create a highly productive and cohesive team

What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?

Working with an exceptional team, committed to delivering a world changing vision.

What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?

Richard Branson.

If you had 5 minutes with the above indiv/company/org, what would you want to ask or discuss?

Can I spend a weekend at your island? Assuming he agrees- I would want to know how he defines success. One of the biggest challenges when you are so personally invested in a project and product is the pursuit of perfection over completion. I want to know how he decides when something is good enough to call completed- if at all.

What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?

One of the most important lessons learned is around having the confidence to prioritise and critically assess the impact of each prospect on delivering our vision.

How have you funded your ideas?

Through equity investment.

What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?

The vibrant and open community of tech startups. There is a huge amount of support and academic excellence in Oxford that is very useful to Covatic.

If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship resources, where would you send them?

OUI – I do regularly!

Any last words of advice?

Nothing comes without effort, to be successful I believe it takes time, commitment and the ability to listen and work with a team. Entrepreneurship is not a solo activity- in order to change the world, to be a successful entrepreneur, you will require a group of exceptionally talented people working together.