Today we met with Director of Marketing, Liz Greene, Co-Founder and CEO Michael Amar, and Suchit Dash, Co-Founder and VP of Business development at ifeelgoods.
ifeelgoods is an agency that creates virtual goods as incentives for online and offline actions for marketing purposes.
Michael has previously started companies in Paris that managed media acquisition for retailers. He began ifeelgoods in 2009 to act as the agent between online purchases on Facebook credits and iTunes, etc. He won an exclusive contract with Facebook to use Facebook credits outside of Facebook (in the real world). So it was the first company that offered Facebook credits instead of coupons in the real world as a result of purchasing online.
For the first 2 years this was the niche of the company. They signed over 100 major retailers and fashion brands for these incentives. They proved they could reduce the cost of promotion for most retailers. They found that in a comparison of 50 Facebook credits versus cash off a next purchase, customers overwhelmingly chose Facebook credits. Across the board they are getting 30% conversion rates better than traditional coupon systems. Developing nations such as Turkey and Indonesia are particularly strong markets for online promotions. Customers typically use their credits within 5 days of receiving and 92% use within 2 weeks. Earned media engagement is also massively improved for the brands offering these incentives.
Customers of ifeelgoods include Facebook, Amazon, Zynga, Starbucks, Skype and many others. Amar says what he wants to do is to disrupt advertising by providing relevant targeting and incentives for customers. Goal initially is to launch of the product in mid-next year. There is no specific ambition for acquisition. The want to play with the real value of connection with an audience. Advertisers have a back office where they can choose the kind of product and value of the incentive, and they get dynamic reports on the engagement history. Business model is based on tech licenses and markup on the products.
Why Silicon Valley?
Michael sneaked in to a conference in Stanford in 1994. He was immediately attracted to the area. The ecosystem of Silicon Valley assists the startup of the business. The startup culture, the investor environment, even the customers are more open to innovation. And of course developer talent is strong in the region.
Suchit notes his background with Paypal, and says he was introduced to Michael and the vision of social gaming for retail in 2008. He loves that the vision for the company is to displace the entire market of promotions. Every time you see a promotion or a discount, that’s an opportunity for ifeelgoods. Challenge that is always faced by a startup is in selling to enterprises. They got Walgreens and Coca-Cola early and that has given them legitimacy to other businesses. But they are building services so as to make their product accessible to any size business. While they are focusing primarily on large businesses, they could potentially be adopted across all sectors. When they launched, they did so globally, and this has helped them refine the product, because they were able to observe differences in consumer behaviour.
We are also introduced to the company called Feedly, a RSS feed oriented system. Feedly is a 4 year old company designed to generate a unique, personalised reading service. Ed (CEO and Founder) noted his own history of swelling companies and has since decided to pursue his passion without focusing on sale or investment. He just wants to provide a better user experience.