Day One: Meet Andy Nulman, CEO of Play The Future

In our Day One series, we talk with inspirational entrepreneurs to learn about the people behind some of Canada’s most interesting businesses. As we rebuild banking for modern businesses, we’ll showcase the people behind the transactions. We’ll talk about their journey, how their role has changed over time, and what you can learn from their experiences.

Andy Nulman is a Canadian legend and a serial entrepreneur, marketer and business thought leader. He was one of the co-founders of the internationally acclaimed Just For Laughs festival serving as its CEO, CMO and president along the way. Andy also co-founded Airborne Mobile which quickly became one of North America’s fastest growing technology companies before it was acquired in 2005 for north of $100 million. Andy’s current venture Play The Future, which he launched in 2016, has already partnered with companies as diverse as Danone, Ipsos-Reid, Via Rail, L’Oreal, Twitter and Boston Pizza.

Andy has written several books about business, talked at numerous conferences like C2 Montréal, and taught at McGill University. He also writes the excellent Pow! Right Between The Eyes blog which you should follow closely.

Hi Andy! Tell us about Play The Future.

Play The Future (PTF) is a powerful marketing tool stealthily disguised as a consumer-centric mobile prediction game platform. Simple, captivating and addictive, PTF turns brands’ marketing messages and performance data into an innovative, interactive-entertainment engagement platform; one that fights fragmented consumer attention, the onslaught of ad blockers and the rejection of push marketing. People don’t realize this while playing, but the “invisibly blatant” incorporation of brand data as playable content intensifies attraction, promotes learning and leads to transactions.

PTF lives by two credos: “Life’s a Game” and “If It Can Be Measured, It Can Be Played.” The act of predicting is inherent in our DNA; people crack open fortune cookies, read horoscopes and lay down bets…in essence, people are fascinated with the future. These principles that have driven the exponential rise of the fantasy sport sector; PTF applies them to a wider consumer audience.

What was your journey leading up to founding your company?

It was a belief in the power of prediction as a powerful brand engagement tool. Nobody else really believed in it, which made it that much more appealing to me.

What is your role at Play The Future and how has it changed from day one to now?

I am CEO, which sounds impressive, but we are only six. It has changed because now I actually have to deliver on all the wondrous dreams I have sold.

What tools do you use (or have you built) that make managing your company’s finances easier?

Rose coloured glasses, Ativan, Excel, Powerball, Jack Daniel’s and a ball peen hammer.

What advice would you give a new entrepreneur that would help them spend more time building their business and less time managing their company’s finances?

Hire a CFO. Or an accountant. Or at least a bookkeeper.

What can you tell new entrepreneurs about choosing a bank for their business?

Take the one that gives the best premium for opening an account. Like an iPad or a Galaxy 8 or Mont Blanc pen.

What were the most and least enjoyable parts of founding your business?

Most enjoyable – the day we proved all naysayers wrong by launching in the USA. Least enjoyable – answering questions at 12:14 am.

Recommend a book, movie, or podcast that someone should check out before they start a business.

The Bible. You’ll need to learn how to pray. And fast.

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