In 2015, the Hispanic population in the United States accounted for $1.3 trillion in buying power, an amount larger than the GDP of Australia or Spain. That’s 167% higher than in the year 2000 and more than twice the growth in non-Hispanic buying power during the same period. With a population of 56 million and growing each year, Hispanics represent a huge market opportunity for businesses. OYE! Business Intelligence in Columbus, Ohio, developed a robust platform to collect and analyze illuminating information about Hispanic consumers to provide brands with actionable insights to drive their marketing strategies.
“Hispanics represent a major population in the U.S. consumer market and we’ve seen brands try to capture and retain Hispanic business,” said Natasha Pongonis, co-founder and CEO of OYE!. “But the most effective campaigns are authentic, empathetic and display a genuine understanding of people. That’s hard for brands because within the Hispanic population there is great diversity, and a one-size-fits-all strategy doesn’t work. We built OYE! to collect and analyze information so that brands could better understand and market to them.”
OYE! means “Listen!” in Spanish, fitting for the analytical platform which collects and analyzes information from Hispanic users on social media channels, blogs and from product reviews. OYE! software breaks down this public data, analyzing factors like age, location, language (Spanish, English or Spanglish), and identify micro-influencers to help clients understand how and where these subsets communicate. The more data the company’s algorithms process, the better the insights for OYE!’s client list, which includes JobsOhio, MassMutual, Big Lots and Henkel Corp.
Pongonis and co-founder Eric Diaz previously founded Nativa, a Hispanic-facing digital communications agency. Through their advertising work with brands, they recognized a need for a data-driven solution like OYE!, and participated in the Concept Academy at Rev1 Ventures to hash out their business idea. Rev1 provided OYE! with office space, business planning and meaningful connections with top Columbus corporations and mentors. OYE! also received support through a TVSF grant from Ohio Third Frontier to further develop and validate their technology, as well as JumpStart’s Focus Fund, which is dedicated to supporting minority and female entrepreneurs.
OYE! plans to build out their platform further to expand beyond Hispanic outreach. Their goal is to begin applying their technology to other minority groups, specifically Asian-Americans, the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. Pongonis says that millennials are more globalized than ever before, and brands are responding with increasingly multicultural advertising approaches. OYE!’s robust analytical platform can help companies develop a connection with this important consumer segment.
Pongonis revels in her status as a female minority founder building a successful business in Ohio.
“Hearing that a female Latina runs a startup in Ohio surprises some people, so I like sharing the amazing things we’re accomplishing here in Columbus,” said Pongonis. “People typically think of Silicon Valley when they think of startups, but the Midwest is absolutely growing. Ohio is home to major corporations, and we have so much talent here. You can access capital and build a thriving business that creates value for other businesses in the Midwest. People and institutions are supportive of one another, and it makes me very proud when I travel and speak.”