Start-Ups.Co really enjoyed interviewing the brilliant entrepreneur; Mr. ‘Giannis Zaoudis'; CTO of the Cyprus-based start-up “pollfishCom”.
Below, is the full interview that we have conducted :
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
Pollfish is a survey web platform that allows anyone to create a survey, select audience from Pollfish distribution and get answers. Pollfish builds its distribution with mobile app developers who embed Pollfish SDK into their apps, in order to gain revenue.
Pollfish can be considered as a marketplace similar to the mobile ad marketplaces that already exist.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
Pollfish was founded on March 2013 and it has already over 150,000 users and two paying customers. Currently we are expanding our network in England and we are in discussion with well- known research companies for the next surveys. The next goal is to hit 1,000,000 users and be able to make worldwide surveys for big firms.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
Pollfish potential clients are anyone that wishes to create a survey and get some answers. Clients can be individuals, market research companies, advertising agencies, firms and others. Pollfish focuses on the online surveys market, while re-channeling it through existing mobile apps! Pollfish provides a one-stop solution from survey creation to delivery of results. Pollfish introduces survey distribution and targeting as a service! Distribution is built through partnerships with mobile app developers who embed Pollfish SDK into their apps. Clients pay per completed survey and revenue is shared with the developers. Every day thousands of mobile applications are released to the different app stores around the world. Different
monetization methods are used on these apps following the successful ad model. Pollfish is taking advantage of this model to deliver more revenue and happy users to the developers! Users responding to Pollfish surveys can win prizes or discounts through Pollfish partnered retailers, something which brings in additional revenue to us as users are channeled towards the retailers.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Pollfish was established in January 2013 with the vision to change the global landscape of how mobile surveys are conducted. Pollfish has 5 founders residing in two different countries (Cyprus and Greece). The team is working remotely though Skype. In the last three months they managed to take the project from an idea to a minimum valuable product with 150k users on the platform and 4 paying customers!
Pollfish team members have known each other for a long time and have previously founded other startups and worked together on different projects.
John Papadakis – Founder and CEO
John is responsible for the team coordination and sales. He is also building the back-end of Pollfish platform.
Andreas Vourkos – Founder and COO
Andreas is responsible for the operations of Pollfish and sales. He is keeping the balance in this group of fellows. He is building and supporting the Pollfish Android SDK
Giannis Zaoudis – Founder and CTO
Giannis is responsible for the technology of Pollfish. He is dealing with the server side issues and he is developing the front-end of the platform.
Vasileios Mitrousis – Founder and Head of Mobile
Vasileios is responsible for anything regarding the mobile part of Pollfish. He is dealing with the fragmentation issues and he is building and supporting the Pollfish iOS SDK.
Zissis Bellas – Founder and Art Director
Zissis is responsible for the user interface, brand development and anything else related to the image of Pollfish. He is building the mobile UI, the website, the promo videos and other.
John, Giannis and Andreas have graduated from the same University and have been friends for more than 9 years! John and Giannis have co-founded a San Francisco registered startup (http://www.pajap.com)
John and Giannis have won different competitions around mobile and web development.
Andreas and Vasileios have co-founded Wajee Mobile Ltd (http://www.wajeemobile.com), a mobile software house startup. They built their own augmented reality SDK libraries from scratch, being among thefew companies in the world with that kind of ownership and won different competitions such as Cyprus
Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012, Cyprus Hackathon 2012 and others.
Zissis was introduced to the team later on and became a perfect match! Zissis took part in many of the most well- known advertising campaigns in Greece during the last two years! .All the team members have been working full time on this project for the last
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?
Pollfish introduces a new innovative way of monetization of mobile apps in the global scene and additionally exposes and targets the elusive mobile user to survey! Below we highlight some of the most
important advantages of Pollfish platform:
Pollfish is following the widely spread and successive mobile advertising model. Pollfish builds its distribution with mobile apps developers who embed Pollfish SDK into their apps, in order to gain
revenue. Each completed survey can provide 10-20 times more revenue than ad clicks. SDK integration is easy, fast and does not reserve any extra space to the developer’s app. Therefore,
Pollfish can bring monetization to mobile developers in a completely different way than ads and with much more higher rates.
By 2015 there will be more mobile users than web users. Mobile users are a very attractive segment, not easily accessible for market research. Pollfish brings full survey experience to
engaged mobile users in an easy and non- intrusive way.
Pollfish builds its distribution through partnerships with mobile app developers who embed Pollfish SDK into their apps. Clients pay per completed survey and revenue is shared with the developers.
• One of the most important things in market research is targeting. Pollfish provides access to its clients; to the audience they really want. Pollfish ongoing targeting system continuously learns
and improves by fully taking advantage of its user base.
Pollfish is a distribution and targeting service for surveys, with access to a specific and hard to access audience. Pollfish is a scalable product that can grow and expand to an international level.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
Pollfish is going from 0 users to over 150,000 in three months so growth is going very well at the moment and we are on the way of expanding to over a 1,000,000 users. Market research companies are already familiar with online surveys, so getting the first two customers was really interesting and we are currently in discussions with the next couple of customers!
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
Survey Monkey, Question Pro, Google surveys are some of the existing players in the online surveys industry, but they don’t really address mobile audience. Pollfish is offering an audience which can’t be accessed through any of these services, an audience which belong to the opinion makers of our society.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
The initial obstacle was to convince app developers that it was worthy to spend an hour of their time to integrate our SDK. What we did was first to agree with market research companies that they will run a survey as soon as we had the distribution, so developers were happy to integrate our SDK since they would earn money immediately.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
There are many issues regarding how surveys are conducted with which people are unfamiliar. Survey is a wide field which is being studied for many years and includes hard theories on human behavior which require a solid background to be understood. Our field is to provide a stable marketplace in order for all the researchers to collect data and apply the scientific theories on them.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
Success is a big word and can only be told at the end, so I don’t know why are we going to succeed but I do know that we are going to grow and we plan to do this quite aggressively and position Pollfish in the worldwide market during the first year. The team is really great and most of all focused on delivering results which in the end is all that matters.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
Pollfish is focused on the market research area and has no plans on expanding into other domains at least for the next couple of years. Our goal is to provide this new distribution channel for market research companies and data collection and on the other hand to increase revenue stream for the developers. We are extremely focused and not looking into other domainsin the near future..
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
Pollfish team noticed a huge opportunity in the mobile survey domain. We searched a lot and decided that we wanted to make a validation test. The process was split in small steps. Initially we just tried setting up a small SDK to check if users will respond to surveys. As we realized that our assumptions were valid we decided to build this start-up
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
Focusing on the business side of things is really important. In order to do this you have to measure everything, conversion rates on campaigns, on clicks and stay always focused on doing small tests to validate our assumptions. Most products/services on the start-up domain are quite innovative, thus have a high risk of not being used by many users/customers, so don’t rush just test simple and small components.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Expanding in more than 4 countries worldwide will bring quite many problems I suppose. Localization to server scaling will definitely be an issue but the team consists of experienced engineers who can handle such issues. Furthermore business development in countries with different entrepreneurship culture will be a challenge by itself but we like to think of ourselves like adopters and quick learners.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
Pollfish has a lot of advantages in terms of its clients, its app developers and its users which respond to surveys. Let us start from the last: users gain gifts from answering surveys and since they are happy with that they rate apps high, making app developers happy who also win 10-20 times more money than an ad click per completed survey. As far as market research companies are concerned they just publish their survey and relax. we automate all the process and provide them with the collected data.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
Currently, we were exploring only the Greek market and we have been focusing on making some cold calls and use our existing network to attract our first customers. In the future we are designing some engaging ad campaigns and we are going to participate in some well-known conferences for market research companies to present to them our solution.