We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Eder Holguin”, CEO of the New York – USA based start-up “Fripito”
Below is the interview we conducted with him:
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
Ideal Media is a content distribution and recommendation platform that provides brands, content marketers and publishers with the opportunity to increase their content visibility and audience engagement.
We do this through our native recommendation platform and Audience Amplification Network. In addition, we create and syndicate content for our clients.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
Our company was founded in May 2013 and we launched our recommendation platform in September 2013 during AdTech London.
We are still at an early stage but have grown dramatically in the past 10 months. We have a fully functional platform with many new features and will be adding new products within the next couple of months.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
Our business model is based on crating and syndicating the best content online. We select content from multiple sources, classified under different categories and provide the best recommendations to users when they are engage online consuming any type of content. .
We do this via our recommendation engine and serve this content via our custom native ad units. Most of the content is organic and relevant to what the user’s interests are.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
I started the company last year after working with other digital companies on a consulting basis. I saw the opportunity and worked with outside developers to start building the recommendation engine.
After several months I started building the publisher development team and made the decision to merge the company with a better technology company in December (e-generator) The team is still small and the main focus is on improving our technology and branching out into content curation and syndication in order to improve our recommendation platform.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
What makes us unique is the fact that we leverage our content production and curation capabilities with our recommendation engine, thus providing both the actual content and the amplification and distribution services to our clients.
There are companies that offer one of these services but usually they are not combine. We provide the proverbial one stop shop when it comes to digital content creation, amplification and distribution.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
We have grown dramatically in the past 10 months. We opened a couple of new markets including Russia, India and we are in the process of entering Latin America.
We have also managed to secure agreements with several content providers and have grown our internal content team, providing new opportunities to bloggers and part time writers.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
There are several competitors in the content recommendation space, including Zergnet and Content.ad and we also have competitors in the content creation and syndication space but most of them do not provide all the services we do.
We believe that by tackling all aspects of the content strategy, creation and syndication challenge for our clients we have an advantage.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Initially our biggest obstacle was building a great platform. When we started, we outsourced development to an overseas company and couldn’t quite get the product we wanted built.
In December when we merged with e-generator, we finally were able to overcome that obstacle. Since then, we have improved our targeting and relevancy and have added the content creating team to streamline the business.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
There are several misconceptions about our business, mostly because of some of the new players entering our space. I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that we are a normal ad network and that we use the content recommendation units just to serve ads. This may be true for some of the new companies in the space but it is not for us. We are a more organic solution that specializes in user engagement and improving user experience, which then translates into additional page views and new audience development for our clients.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
I think we can say we have finally crossed the line where we asked ourselves that question.
I am sure we are going to succeed. We have a great product in a great market.
I think now is about growing in a smart way and improving our platform to branch out and introducing new products that fit in into our business plan and increasing the value we bring to our clients.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
Mobile and Social media are the 2 main areas we are really interested in and are part of our short-term goals. These are rapid growth areas overall and they will help us get to that next level.
We are working on building a couple of solutions in these areas and we should be able to launch them both before the end of the year. This will give us additional tools that can benefit our clients and help us expand in a smart way.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
I think 2 of the fastest growing trends online are content marketing and native advertising. These were 2 areas that I was really interested in pursuing.
I figured that by merging both into our business model will be a sure way to tackle both and improve market share, improving our chances of success.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
I learned a lot about content marketing and user engagement. Most people think that content marketing is about producing large amount of content and placing it everywhere (The “build it and they will come”) mentality. In reality, it is more complicated than that. It is about understanding your audience, crafting your message and segmenting your message in the appropriate way.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
As we begin to scale and grow, finding great talent and maintaining that start-up level of communication is by far the biggest challenge we will be facing soon.
The level of communication and contribution from everyone is very different when you have a team of 10 people vs a team of 100. Maintaining a good level of communication and keeping everyone involved in our company is key.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
The benefit for the user is to have access to custom tailored content recommendations at their finger tips based on their likes, dislikes and favorite channels.
Our engine learns what people like, what they are reading and provides similar content in real time, keeping users engaged regardless of where they are and what device they are using.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
We attend most of our conferences in the Digital media, Digital publishing and the Ad tech space. We also have a sales team that is constantly calling on new prospects in our space, and a publisher team reaching out to prospective partners.
In addition, we run inbound and outbound marketing campaigns to be more visible and allow our customers to find us easily.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Our current customers are companies that create great content which can be either: Video, blogs, PR, articles, etc… And want to increase visibility for their content, increase their audience as well as increase user engagement.
We also work with publishers that have an engaged audience and want to be exposed to new audiences; we help them with our audience amplification program or provide content syndication.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
Mostly of our new customers come from our sales efforts or through referrals. They are usually looking to either produce better content, improve user engagement, attract a new audience or increase their online visibility.
We usually start a test campaign to help them achieve any of their goals and usually we end up adding new services to the original agreement as they realize that most of these services complement each other.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
Most of our customers work hand in had with us and appreciate the feedback and our commitment to help them build a great content strategy.
Our aim is to build long lasting relationships and help our clients build a successful long term strategy as opposed to just go through a long list of clients in a short period of time.
This is why we offer a more consultative approach and often reject projects when we feel they are not a good fit for our platform.
20. How are you going to scale?
Our plans to scale are broken down into several strategies:
- Additional markets: Opening up new markets like Brazil and Mexico where we can increase our advertiser and publisher base.
- Staff: Adding new members to our team in the sales, publisher development side and technology.
- Building new products: Social media and mobile being the first 2 that will be launch this year.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
I think the biggest missing feature is content syndication via social media. Our initial focus was web and mobile via native. As we grow in that area, we have seen the explosion of growth in social media.
We are taking this by building our social media strategy and adding that to our portfolio of services.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Yes, we are already a company with global footprint. We are already in Russia, India, United Kingdom and obviously in the US.
We are looking to expand into Latin America this year and we will be looking to start either with Mexico or Brazil. After that, we will look at other European markets and Canada as well.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
We try to focus on building a great product and growing organically.
There are several companies in the content discovery space that are around $150 to $200 Million dollars in revenue, I think we can get there in several years if we continue to improve our product, add new services to our current portfolio and hire the right people.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
We are always looking for great talent.
Right now, we are looking for sales people who have experience and relationships in the digital space and we are also looking for bloggers and writers.
In addition, we will looking to grow our publisher development team soon.
They can send their info to us via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
We are always looking for new partnership opportunities with content or media companies. Any company that is producing large amounts of quality content is of high interest to us and they can contact us via e-mail at Info@idealmedia.com
Regarding funding, we are not looking for any type of capital at this time but will be as we continue to grow. I estimate that we will be looking to raise capital before the end of this year.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Pursue your dreams and continue moving forward regardless of what challenges or obstacles appear in your way. Being an entrepreneur is hard and sometimes it seems easier to just quit. Just remember that plenty of time, you are a just quick tweak away from overcoming your obstacles.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?:
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be featured on start-ups.co