Before retiring from the Los Angeles advertising agency he co-founded, Jay Chiat had a hand in creating memorable ads for such big companies as Apple Computer Inc. and Nike Inc.
And as an investor in an Internet start-up, Chiat plans to advise small businesses about advertising.
Chiat is among the three heavyweights from Corporate America who have signed on with UMagic.com, a site targeting small business. Silicon Valley PR guru Regis McKenna and Peter Sealey, a bigwig at Coca-Cola Co. before settling into a professorship at UC Berkeley, have also signed on.
New York-based UMagic says its experts will dispense advice using artificial-intelligence software developed by San Diego-based Scientific Applications International Corp. UMagic Chief Executive David Post said UMagic engineers will spend about 200 hours debriefing the experts to determine how they solve problems. That information will be used to provide customized advice to small-business clients of UMagic.
After that, experts will be debriefed quarterly to keep pace with changes in the marketplace, Post said. The experts won't be available to answer questions personally.
UMagic won't be ready to offer small-business advice until later this year, Post said. Users will be charged a fee for the advice, and the experts will receive a percentage of those fees, he said.
Besides Chiat, who co-founded TBWA/Chiat/Day, Sealey and McKenna have invested in UMagic, said Post. They also are receiving warrants in the start-up, which so far has received about $10 million in funding, said Post.