Startup Spotlight #165: 150birds
Automate your company’s growth and reduce marketing operations expenses by 90% with a team for a monthly subscription.
Rick Koletavitoglu is the founder of 150birds, an omnichannel marketing platform that helps companies automate their growth and reduce marketing operations expenses by 90% with an on-demand team for a monthly subscription fee. While working as a freelance marketing consultant in Silicon Valley, he noticed the inefficiencies in recruiting and managing specialists through marketplaces, which led him to tinker with the thought of "How do I productize myself?" That thought led to the founding of 150birds.
In a previous life, he founded CreatorDen - the leading influencer marketing platform in Turkey that provides solutions to brands including Netflix, Wella, Pantene, Dell, P&G, Uber, and 100s more. And even before that, he did a fellowship with Mitel chairman (first Welsh billionaire Terrance Matthews) and worked for three venture-backed startups in the marketing technologies space. He also managed FuckUp Nights Istanbul and then FuckUp Nights San Francisco between 2015-2020, where he hosted 20+ events with dozens of inspirational entrepreneurs and thousands of attendees. He is a TEDx speaker and believes that humans aspire to realize their full potential by pursuing curiosity. He's passionate about making it easier for marketers to lead a more meaningful life through autonomous and remote work.
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Startup Spotlight: 150birds
Problem: Most small businesses don't have the expertise, budget, or capacity to recruit and manage an internal marketing team, freelancers are unreliable, and agencies are expensive. Small businesses need a marketing partner that can scale up or down as their needs change.
Market: There are over 120,000 marketing agencies in the US and a total addressable market of $105B spent in online marketing services annually, $12B of which are consumed by small businesses. There is a growing trend of using online platforms to recruit a remote workforce and outsource the marketing function: our sweet spot is the 30 million small businesses nationwide with 5-20 employees, generating between a couple hundred thousand and a couple million in annual revenue.
Solution: We build holistic marketing plans, curate a team of channel specialists and match our customers with an experienced strategist to guide their team. A flat monthly fee makes our program an affordable and hassle-free alternative to in-house hiring, working with marketing agencies, or messy freelance marketplaces.
Team: Rick Koletavitoglu, Founder and CEO, is joined by a team of seasoned marketing and technologies advisors, a vetted network of 200+ freelance marketers, and a handful of interns.
Koletavitoglu: I think one thing I've been good at has been rapidly iterating based on customer feedback. We spoke with hundreds of businesses ranging in size from solo founders to large corporations. After reevaluating our target buyer personas and positioning, we pivoted the business model from a heavily-managed marketplace to a subscription to provide more value to our customers while building continuity in the relationship rather than one-off campaigns. We believe in a culture of abundance and accessibility through our transparent platform instead of the scarcity-based economics of the traditional agency.
Koletavitoglu: Finding a scalable product approach has been an ongoing challenge. While the pivot to a subscription business model cannibalized our sales in the short term, it is promising because it builds continuity with our customers. However, we are still scratching the surface of automating certain services to increase operational efficiency and profitability. We are exploring the extent of automation we can provide based on the historical data we can gather through google analytics and previous advertising data.
Koletavitoglu: Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey and full of ups and downs. It can get overwhelming at times, so don't let it get the best of you. A few years from now, most of the problems you have today will be an afterthought, which is why you should start building healthy habits as soon as possible. Exercise, cook and have social outings regularly not to become too much of a recluse from society. Get your life in order before starting your entrepreneurial journey; otherwise, it'll be even more difficult than expected.
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