William Flanagan, founder of Audienti, “a software solution that identifies your audience and pinpoints the best strategies to reach them”, sat down with us and explained what the service is all about, how and why he made it into a reality and where he sees the company going; along with some great tips for any entrepreneur and those still on the fence to starting their own venture.
StartupCatchup: Please introduce us to Audienti (who are the founders, what’s the back story?)
William: Audienti is marketing software that continuously monitors conversations online to help companies locate, track, and engage with their digital audiences. The SaaS company was founded by me, William Flanagan. I’m a bit of a serial entrepreneur with an extensive history in the technology space.
Audienti began as TEMPUS Group, a digital services consulting agency. We identified a major need for automated software to perform the time-consuming grunt work that our team members spent most of their time doing. Instead of strategizing, we were using all of our manpower to mine data, identify influencers, and perform market research. We set about creating a platform that would do all the tedious work that buttresses a marketing campaign, freeing up our time to think critically like only a human can. For this reason, we call Audienti your “marketing sidekick” because it does the legwork and you get to take all the credit.
StartupCatchup: How did you come up with the idea?
William: Audienti was borne out of necessity. We were frustrated with the amount of time and resources we were spending on something that could be done by an engine.
Through traditional marketing campaign strategies like competitor analysis and SEO recommendations, Audienti provides comprehensive, actionable strategies. Combined with the innovative real-time crawler that unceasingly scans the internet for new discussions across social, web, and forums, Audienti is a true one stop shop for companies and organizations of all sizes.
Audienti identifies who your audience is, where they hang out (Reddit, Twitter, blogs, forums, etc.), and what they like to read. By doing these three key pieces of legwork, we are able to provide content suggestions for engagement, paid ad recommendations that beat banner blindness and streamline media spend, and traditional PR suggestions for key influencers that resonate with a company’s target consumer.
StartupCatchup: What made you actually take action and go for it?
William: I have a lot of experience in the tech world. I saw the value Audienti provided our team internally, and knew any company that engages with an online audience—which should be every 21st century enterprise—could also benefit. Once I realized it would revolutionize the way people marketed, I went full steam ahead in making the software a reality.
StartupCatchup: How many people are currently working on the project and who are they?
William: We’ve now grown to a team of eight, with an office in Washington, DC, and another in Slovenia.
Aside from me, the DC headquarters houses our growth team of sales and marketing. Our Eastern European office houses the engineering team.
StartupCatchup: How are you funding the project?
William: We are bootstrapped, in addition to having revenue from current customers.
StartupCatchup: What are your plans for the business and what do you hope to accomplish?
William: We really believe that our software will revolutionize the way companies connect with their audiences. We squeeze out excess resource spend by allowing companies to laser-focus their marketing efforts, meaning their dollars are effectively allocated towards projects and campaigns.
Right now, we’re in growth mode. We’re looking to continue our momentum and add members to all teams. We have a date set for our launch party, which will be January 23rd of next year. We’re hoping that event calls international attention to the vibrant DC Tech community, and we look forward to sharing this occasion with like-minded local entrepreneurs and luminaries.
StartupCatchup: What has been the most rewarding/positive experience so far on the journey?
William: Like any startup, Audienti celebrates early wins like major clients, signed contracts, and happy customers. What’s even more thrilling than sales, however, is seeing our clients find immediate success using our software. Perhaps there is no more gratifying experience than knowing that something you’ve invested so much time and energy into is delivering, let alone functioning.
One family-owned company, using Audienti, tripled its web traffic in just three months. Another client, a non-profit organization, drove awareness to its cause using our content suggestions. The result was increased membership, which in turn lead to a significant increase in funding.
StartupCatchup: What, if anything, would you have done differently looking back on the journey now?
William: So often, people think of success as a linear path. They don’t realize that what they perceived to be a setback was instead a lesson, or that part of your project’s failure to launch was actually a blessing. With that said, there’s nothing I would have done differently in my journey. It got me here, and this is exactly where I want to be.
StartupCatchup: What would you advise others who have an idea but simply don’t know where to begin?
William: Let necessity guide you. Don’t try to backsolve a problem that isn’t there, or for which a suitable solution already exists. Identify a real-world challenge that bothers you or keeps you from living optimally, and then find ways to solve it at a scalable level. Your intuition is almost always your best starting point.
StartupCatchup: Can you give us a quote that motivates and inspires you to keep going?
William: Audentes fortuna adiuvat (Fortune favors the bold). It’s a Latin proverb that has really influenced and encouraged me throughout my career. If you’re going to fail, fail in a way that is quick, obvious, and instructive. There’s no reason you should be timid about an idea you think will change the world.