We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.
We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.
A Belarusian startup, Easy Bloggers develops an automated solution for companies to work with influencers. The project saves your manager’s time and increases their productivity. Let’s say an average employee working with bloggers can work with 20–30 influencers. You can increase this number at least 3 times using the startup platform! Pretty impressive, isn’t it? We asked the CEO of the startup Evgeny Rozhko how much money they managed to raise at the Pre-seed round, how the project’s vision has changed over the year, why they decided to change the name and what they are planning to do in the coming months.
— Many startups today do not raise a round at a time and raise money in parts in several stages instead. We started raising Pre-seed a year ago, and finally managed to close it. We’ve recently raised the remaining $190 000 from two business angels.
Why not find the money right away? Evgeniy admits it is not easy to do this in Belarusian realities. Besides, fundraising is a full-fledged job, and if you raise a round in parts, it is less time-consuming, so you have time to work on the project.
— “This year we have made great progress working on the project,” says Evgeny. — Initially, we positioned the product as an influencer marketing platform, that is, the place where the customer comes and gets the result they want. However, we constantly struggled to find our competitive advantage.
The team ordered market research in an attempt to find the answer and received an interesting result. They switched from influence marketing platforms to managing influence marketing — this is a highly focused ERP system that organizes all processes for the customer company on a turnkey basis. In addition to running the influence marketing campaign itself, the system also provides for team and process management. Thus, the vision of the product has expanded significantly, which is the largest change in the project, according to the CEO of the startup.
Despite the changes in positioning and product, the startup’s mission has not changed since its launch: to democratize influence marketing and make it affordable for most companies. Now it is very labor-intensive and expensive for many organizations, and Easy Bloggers aims to change this.
The startup team is confident that each company will have a full-time influencers’ manager in 5–10 years, so they are developing the most convenient tool to do this.
— Will automation of work affect quality?
— Definitely not! After all, it is the manager who communicates with bloggers and ensures the quality of cooperation, and they will still be in charge of the process. However, Easy Bloggers helps to automate routine functions that previously had to be done manually, increasing the productivity of an influencer specialist several times. Let’s say your manager can work with 20–30 bloggers a month. With the help of Easy Bloggers, this number can grow to 100!
— In March 2020, we had bloggers from 5 English-speaking countries, — says Evgeny, replying to whether the market where the startup operates has changed. — Now we have bloggers from all over the world in our database, and you can find an influencer from almost any country. Nevertheless, our priority is economically developed countries, since it is easier to work with them in terms of regulation and laws. In the CIS countries, we often face problems with payments and the conclusion of contracts. Therefore, we decided to establish the operation of the product in developed countries with the highest quality, and then move on to developing countries.
— What has been your biggest achievement since spring 2020?
— I believe in small steps, splitting a complex project into many simple tasks. I prefer constant small changes that gradually push your project towards the desired progress to big leaps.
The first few years are about finding a product-market fit for any project. We were experimenting and communicating with clients all year, but it’s only now that we are starting to work with system design, custom development and business analysis — we can say that we are still starting out. Since the end of February, we have been independently creating advertising campaigns for bloggers using our own tools — and the volume of campaigns is increasing every month.
If I were to mention one achievement, it would be that our team has grown significantly — there are 21 people currently working on the project, as opposed to just 6 a year ago. The fact that the project is still working is also an achievement. It is difficult to work in Belarusian realities with the current political situation.
— What has been the biggest challenge for the project over the past year?
— System design. Our task is to make it as simple as possible for the user, although it is very difficult technically. Many are interested in influence marketing, but few are willing to actually implement it because of the sheer amount of manual work. It takes titanic work in terms of business analysis to integrate all this correctly into one automated system.
— And what’s your major failure?
— You learn from failures and avoid making the same mistakes in the future, so I do not see mistakes as failures. Nor can I recall any major failures, we worked steadily on the project, although sometimes not as fast as we would like to. In fact, every project is basically searching for product-market fit during the first years. We also spent a lot of time experimenting and communicating with clients.
Rebranding. Easy Bloggers will only refer to the product dedicated to collecting analytics by influencers.
Building an ERP platform to manage influencer marketing for organizations.
Adding at least one website as the project now only works with YouTube. We plan to add Instagram, and ideally, TikTok.
Public launch. Eugene says the team has an idea of a spectacular launch.
Raising the Seed Round this fall.
Stay tuned to find out whether everything works out for the Easy Bloggers team and how much they will grow in a year. We’ll keep you posted!