My partner Hasan recently gave an interview to TechInside.
In the interview, Hasan shares his thoughts on the current state of the Turkish startup ecosystem as well as predictions for its future, his recommendations for entrepreneurs, and the business models which he finds attractive.
Insider, a predictive segmentation and real-time marketing tool for companies where we’re investors, yesterday launched its new marketing technology platform InOne.
In the words of Insider’s CEO Hande Cilingir, “InOne brings together all the technologies marketers need to deliver personalized experiences under a single, highly usable platform.”
And in the words of Insider’s CTO Sinan Toktay, “InOne powers personalized experiences with new and enhanced predictive modeling and segmentation technologies. Segments are only as good as the data behind them. Allowing marketers to act on ready-to-use segments based on the future behaviors of their visitors, we have transformed the way they deliver personalized experiences.”
In addition to bringing Insider’s predictive modeling and segmentation technologies under a single platform, InOne also introduces the Ad Audiences module to bridge the gap between marketing tech and ad tech. Specifically, Ad Audiences lets marketers optimize their advertising spend by pushing their highest value predictive segments into third party ad platforms like Facebook and Google AdWords.
Immediately following the round, 500 Startups expressed an interest in investing in the company. Given Insider’s existing presence across 8 countries and ambitions to further grow its international operations, partnering with a global fund like 500 makes a lot of sense. We therefore decided to reopen the round to bring onboard 500.
This marks our 4th co-investment with 500 Startups, and we welcome them to the company.
Mavrx, where we’re investors, is an agricultural imaging company. Its core product analyzes aerial images sourced from its network of aircraft partners to give farmers recommendations that improve their agricultural outcomes. These outcomes include maximizing crop yields, reducing spending on irrigation, fertilizer, and labor, and preventing catastrophic crop loss.
It’s more accurate and less costly to reach these outcomes by applying data science to images sourced from planes rather than by applying intuition to a farmer’s row-by-row drive-throughs among his crops. The former doesn’t eliminate the need for the latter but rather guides the latter to focus on those specific farm segments where there is the greatest value at stake.
We participated in Mavrx’s $2.5M seed round in mid-2014 and the company announced its $10M Series A in late 2016. Here’s a post from the company’s blog which covers the new round.
As mentioned in the post, the round’s proceeds will go towards growing Mavrx’s data science and sales teams, further improving its product, and winning new customers both within and outside of (for example Canada and South Africa) the US.
Hande Cilingir, co-founder and CEO of Insider, a multi-channel online marketing technology provider where we’re investors, recently gave a talk at the Webrazzi Summit.
In her talk, Hande talks about Insider’s predictive modeling tool, shares how Insider uses this tool to segment and target its clients’ most valuable customers, and hosts LC Waikiki’s e-commerce director Salih Yilmaz to provide an overview of LC Waikiki’s experiences working with Insider.
When we originally invested in Insider 3 years ago, over 90% of the company’s revenue came from Turkey, with the remaining coming from the recently launched Russia office. Since then Insider has tripled its revenue in Turkey while also beginning to serve several new geographies including the Middle East, Poland, and most recently Asia Pacific. The majority of Insider’s current revenue comes from outside of Turkey.
I congratulate the Insider team on their capital efficient growth which laid the foundation for this round, and welcome Insider’s new investors to the company.
I was recently meeting with one of our enterprise SaaS companies. We were reviewing the company’s performance in 2015, a year in which the company has been very successful in acquiring new customers. I asked our entrepreneur what was behind the sales team’s success. My expectation was that his answer would highlight the company’s successful sales team recruitment and variable compensation strategies, as well as the strength of the company’s product.
While these factors were part of the answer, they were not the most important factor. The entrepreneur shared that the most important reason behind the company’s sales success was that each sales team member focused on making the person responsible for their customer’s buying decision look like a hero inside their company. This requires more than just a great product. Specifically, it requires that people inside the customer company know how great the product which the buyer purchased is.
To achieve this, our startup prepares case studies contrasting the customer company’s performance on relevant metrics before and after our startup’s SaaS tool is implemented. This is something that the buyer could prepare themselves, and the best buyers do prepare this output. However, many don’t. And even those who do may not present the performance difference as clearly as our startup. Our startup knows how to best convey the uplift from having prepared the same presentation for tens of other companies.
The result of this effort is that the buyer looks like a hero inside the company. And when the buyer looks good, they’re more likely to refer our startup’s product to buyers in the same role at other companies. They become advocates for our startup and this makes it easier for our startup to acquire new customers. They’re also more likely to renew their contract when the time comes, a consequence we’ll likely observe in 2016.
If you’re an enterprise SaaS company, making your buyers look like heroes is a cost effective way for you to acquire new customers and retain existing ones.