Jimmy Zollo is the Co-Founder and CEO of Collaborata, a Chicago-based company serving the insights and marketing-research space. Collaborata helps companies find, shape, and buy expert-led multi-client research projects. It helps companies get expert market research that can help a company grow and innovate, and they connect research clients and suppliers to market research. They are the first-ever platform that allows brands to share research costs and insights, and they have been featured in Business Insider, BuiltInChicago, Greenbook, Market Research World.
Jimmy is also the Co-Founder of Joe & Bella, a service that provides older adults with the full array of products they need, and they offer their services for residents of care communities, their families, and caregivers.
Previously Jimmy helped drive the initial growth of Grubhub, one of Chicago’s most successful tech startups ever. He helped develop Grubhub’s industry-leading restaurant network, traveling across the country to launch new markets and grow existing ones.
Before Jimmy focused on tech, he worked in the sports industry, having worked for the Chicago Sky, then the Bulls, selling his favorite sport in his favorite city.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Jimmy Zollo talks about his company, Collaborata, and how they serve their ideal clients
- Jimmy explains what Collaborata’s current project, the Multicultural Insights Collective, is all about and what they learned about the importance of authenticity
- How top brands like the NBA, Procter and Gamble, and Unilever use the research that they get from working with Collaborata
- What Collaborata’s hacking longevity research project is about and Jimmy’s big takeaways from the project
- The personal reason behind the founding of Jimmy’s company, Joe and Bella
- Jimmy discusses the initial ideate had for Collaborata and how they get competitor organizations to collaborate
- Jimmy reflects on his time back at the Chicago Bulls and his experience and growth while with Grubhub
- The best business advice Jimmy received from his grandfather and what can be learned from his biggest entrepreneurial miss
- Jimmy opens up about the challenges that came with starting Collaborata and why he’s so proud about starting Joe and Bella
In this episode…
While sitting in a meeting where the new rules on how Grubhub would operate after completing a successful IPO, Jimmy Zollo knew it was time to move on to do something different. He had worked hard at helping Grubhub expand into new cities but Jimmy wanted to remain in the startup ecosystem and had always wanted to build something of his own. So he dived into the entrepreneurial deep blue sea and founded Collaborata.
Ten months down the line, no client, no paycheck, it looked like Jimmy’s Collaborata was going to fail. But after multiple iterations, they struck gold and were able to bring on marquee clients such as the NBA, Reebok, and Ford to collaborate on a project and share data. That breakthrough became the start of many significant research collaborations enabled by Collaborata.
Join Dr. Jeremy Weisz and Jimmy Zollo, the Co-Founder and CEO of Collaborata, on this episode of Inspired Insider Podcast. They talk about Jimmy’s entrepreneurial journey, why he started Collaborata, and how they enable big competitive corporations to collaborate in research projects and democratize data for growth and innovation. They also talk about Jimmy’s other company, Joe and Bella, and how both of Jimmy’s companies best serve their clients. Stay tuned.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Haley Kwait Zollo of Starting Line on LinkedIn
- Lori Bitter of The Business of Aging on LinkedIn
- Matt Maloney of Grubhub on LinkedIn
- Haley Kwait Zollo on Inspired Insider Podcast
- Ross Gordon of Catch Co and CraftJack on Inspired Insider Podcast
- Jeremy Smith of SpotHero on Inspired Insider Podcast
- Dan Zawacki of LobsterGram on Inspired Insider Podcast
- Ethan Austin on Inspired Insider Podcast
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Insider Stories from Top Leaders & Entrepreneurs…
Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, Founder of InspiredInsider.com where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders and some past guests. The most important past guests Jimmy is Haley Kwait Zollo. of StartingLine.vc. Right? Check out that episode. It’s amazing. She talks about her. Just a great experience in different startups Trunk Club, and we talk a lot about geeking out on metrics actually, which all businesses should be paying attention to. And other you know, kind of the theme Jimmy’s chick I’m thinking of what Chicago businesses I’ve had on the podcast, I had Ross Gordon who started Catch Co and Mystery Tackle Box, Jeremy Smith, or its SpotHero, Dan Zawacki started Lobster Graam, Ethan Austin I had on he started GiveForward. And now he’s with Gig Wage. So check those episodes out on Inspired Insider. Before I introduce today’s guest, this episode is brought to you by Rise25, which I co-founded my business partner, John Corcoran. And what we do is we help businesses give to their best relationships, their dream 100 relationships by helping you run your podcast. So you know, Jimmy, for me, the most important thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships, people I admire people I want to help shout from the rooftops what they’re doing what their company is doing. And I’ve seen no better ways since the over the past 10 years, than having them on my podcast and profiling them and their company. So if you are a business out there, and you’ve thought of, maybe I’ve thought about starting a podcast, we’ve done I’ve been doing it for over a decade, and helping them helping businesses do it. So go to Rise25.com and learn more and contact us. And so, without further ado, I’m excited to introduce today’s guest, Jimmy Zollo. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Collaborata. And it’s a Chicago based company serving the insights and marketing research space, they help companies find shape and by expert led multiclient research projects. He’s going to give some interesting examples. And I’m not sure I was watching several videos, Jimmy and the way I think of it is you help companies get expert market research, and help that company grow and innovate at kind of a crowdfunding price because there’s multiple companies using research. And so it’s really an amazing service and business. They’ve been featured in Business Insider BuiltInChicago, and many, many more. And he’s also the Co-founder of Joe and Bella, which is a service that provides older adults with a full array of products they need. It’s a you know, it’s amazing for residents of care communities, their families, caregivers, and you know, it’s a JoeandBella.com. And previously, Jimmy actually helped drive growth at Grubhub, which was if you don’t haven’t heard of his Chicago, one of Chicago’s most successful tech startups ever. And he helped develop Grubhub’s industry leading restaurant network, and I think you’re traveling all over the country, helping launch new markets and grow existing ones and also worked for the Chicago Bulls, Jimmy, thanks for joining me.
Thanks for having me. that’s a that’s a big intro. So I appreciate it. The pressures on
Is all fact checked.
I don’t think I’ll live up to Haley’s podcast, I’ll do my best to come in right underneath.
That’s a smart husband to say that. But um, you know, I want to talk about Collaborata for a second, and maybe just in your words, what you guys do, and I want to before we hit record, we were talking about social equity. But um, Did I get that right? As far as what do you guys do? Like who are the perfect ideal clients to be using Collaborata?
Yeah, I think you explained it really well. So we bring together multiple organizations to share the cost of really large scale, ambitious research projects that are typically too large for one individual organization to undertake on their own. And the type of clients we work with are the major brands. So it’s the NBA, it’s Reebok, it’s Disney, it’s AARP it are these massive brands, but even despite their size, sharing make make sense because you can stretch your dollar and you can do things that you want to be able to do otherwise. So right now what we’re working on, we put together a group called the Multicultural Insights Collective, which is a collaborative about of about seven other research organizations, all of whom besides me are led by either a woman or a person of color, and our first project that we’re launching early this year, hopefully by the end of February is called words matter. The goal is to take a serious look at the language that we use around race around social justice around social equity in this country, and put together a roadmap for brands on how to best authentically engage in that conversation. This came about in the aftermath of George Floyd, we, we were watching these brands like really rushed to respond and put out statements, a lot of them immediately within 24 hours put something up on social media saying, Hey, we stand with black lives matter. And here is why. But our question was, are the statements that those brands were making authentic? Is the statements they making consistent with what their actions as an organization are? And are they even what? People of underrepresented groups and people of color actually want brands to be saying and doing in those times? So it’s it’s a really ambitious undertaking, but but but something that matters a lot?
Have you found anything so far from the research? Or is there any examples? Or maybe you can comment on, because you’re seeing this come out? Now your crowd, probably digging into the research? And there’s two different things, one, the message you put out? And two, is it resonating with the people it should be resonating with? Right, so what have you been seeing as you’re digging through the research as it is a big undertaking, what brands or, you know, should be saying or doing that is shown in the research?