Buyapowa - is a social marketing referral platform
Disclaimer: Please note that the answers that Gideon gives in the interview are his own opinions and have not been prepared by CrowdBnk or approved by Resolution Compliance Limited.
CrowdBnk: Hi Gideon. Please can you describe your business to us. What problem are you trying to solve and what is the inspiration behind your business
Buyapowa is a social marketing referral platform that enables brands and retailers to drive sales, product sample distribution, app downloads, subscriptions and registrations.
In other words, our clients use Buyapowa to motivate and reward their existing customers for bringing them new ones.
Brands and retailers face increasing challenges in getting their messages and offers out to the public due to a combination of:
· the huge volume of marketing noise competing for the eyes and ears of potential clients;
· ever increasing affiliate and search marketing costs;
· social networks like Facebook and Twitter strangling organic social reach to near zero;
· Google completely re-writing the rules of natural search every few months; and lately
· the arrival of sophisticated ad-blocking technology.
So what we have done is to return to one of the basic fundamentals of marketing: ‘word of mouth’.
Obviously word of mouth has existed as long as humans first shopped, but it did not really translate well online until the arrival of the main social networks together with the spread of smart phones and high speed mobile and broadband networks. Even then, it has not been able to reach its full potential until the arrival of enterprise level platforms like Buyapowa. This is similar to the development of other online technologies like email and paid search where it was not until marketers had tools like Exact Target and Marin in their hands that they were really able to fully exploit the channel.
Buyapowa enables marketers to really harness the full potential of online and mobile social referrals for customer acquisition by combining three key concepts:
· Personal rewards that reward each individual customer for each and every referral they make;
· Gamification which allows star referrers to compete against each other on leaderboards to
win special prizes; and
· Communal rewards which benefit all participants if customer acquisition milestone are met.
We also provide a full suite of analytics and testing tools in the software that allows our clients to track their social buyers and referrers, test what deals and incentives work best to incentivize their audience and find actionable insights that can be used to improve their marketing.
CrowdBnk: You must be excited to have recently started your funding campaign. Why did you choose crowdfunding as a means of raising capital? Why CrowdBnk in particular?
As well as an efficient and quick way to raise additional funding, we see some similarities between Buyapowa and Crowdbnk, in that both are leading London based technologies companies busy disrupting their respective markets. In the case of CrowdBnk, this is by enabling smaller investors to access deals that would only previously have been available to larger ones by using Internet communication and sharing technologies. Buyapowa enables brands and retailers to motivate and reward their existing customers for bringing them new ones, which means that rather than reward celebrities and top bloggers, individual customers get benefits from sharing with friends and family.
CrowdBnk: What feedback have you got on your product from your current clients?
We have powered innovative Introduce-a-Friend programmes for over 100 of the World’s largest brands and retailers and the challenges and goals with each of these has been different. We have worked across different verticals including fashion, cosmetics, groceries, alcoholic beverages, multimedia, telecoms, magazine and press subscriptions, gaming, homewares and books to name just a few.
It has been amazing to see the power of customer referrals across so many different sectors and we have even been successful in verticals where we had not initially considered. For example, we are currently looking at the automotive market and how to increase sign-ups for test drives. In fact, once we fully understand what our clients want to do and understand what incentives can work with their audience, then our software enables us to create so many different combinations of incentives that we can work with almost any vertical.
CrowdBnk: What is the competitive landscape for you in the UK, Europe and the world?
We don’t see a lot of competing third party software solutions in the UK and Europe, although there are several referral software companies active across North America. These tend to be more simplistic or ‘voucher for you, voucher for me’ solutions as we like to call them, and none offer the combination of personal rewards, gamification and communal targets that Buyapowa does and few offer much by the way of sophisticated analytics, testing and insights.
On the other hand, in the UK and Europe, our ‘competitors’ are mostly the in-house referral marketing solutions built by brands and retailers themselves. We find that either the businesses have failed to get their own solution to work or have got it to work reasonably well but have not been able to get it beyond a certain level. We are encouraged that many of these brands and retailers, like O2 and Ocado, are now replacing their own solutions with Buyapowa. This is because they have been able to see both the power of referral marketing and how our solution can take them far beyond anything they can build themselves.
CrowdBnk: What’s next for the company? How do you plan to expand in the future?
Online referral marketing is still at a relatively early stage in its adoption but, as mentioned, now that marketers can finally access enterprise level tools like Buyapowa, I am confident we will see this become an established marketing channel similar to email, search and affiliates. We are well positioned to lead that development and take advantage from it.
As a UK based company, we will be looking to expand our presence across Europe and North America. But as well as winning new clients, we believe we have significant opportunities to increase the adoption of Buyapowa with many of our existing clients by using our successes to work with other brands, business units and in different countries.
CrowdBnk: Finally, please finish this sentence: Buyapowa: is a great investment opportunity because…
We have a proven technology in a market that is primed for take-off due to the fact that marketers now finally have enterprise level tools like Buyapowa available to them. As mentioned, before we see a parallel with the email, affiliate marketing and search markets where the availability of platforms like Exact Target, Affiliate Window, Marin and Kenshoo allowed the full potential of the channel to be realised.
As well as a great technology at the right time in a market ready to take-off, we also have a very experienced and capable senior management team with over 50 years combined experience in senior decision making roles across sectors as diverse as telcos, travel, music, entertainment, retail, fashion, FMCG, publishing and FS as well as at leading lead generation, price comparison and affiliate businesses.
We also build our technology in-house in London which means we control and own our technology but also that our tech teams work closely with the product, marketing, sales and customer services teams to ensure that we really build what our clients want.
CrowdBnk: Gideon; thank you for the interview. We wish you every success with your fundraising campaign!
The Buyapowa shares you may be considering buying will be issued by an unlisted company which has little trading history. Please read both our General Risk Disclosure Notice and Buyapowa Specific Risk Factors carefully on the Buyapowa page before investing. You may lose all your capital. Do not invest more than you can afford to lose.