Interview With Adrian Fagerlund
Describe your product or service & the problem it's solving:
“Linkby has revolutionized the way brands work with premium publishers. Through the Linkby platform, brands from all over the world can work with the biggest publishers on the planet, including Refinery29, BuzzFeed, Daily Mail, Forbes, and hundreds of others on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis. We help you jump the queue in front of typical CPA affiliate-based channels and secure the coverage brands really want.
Tapping into the power of performance-led PR, brands can set their budget, timings and select the publishers they want to work with. The publishers will then create dedicated articles around the brand's brief in their own TOV. The only time there is a cost to the advertiser is when said publishers successfully drive traffic to the brand's nominated site.
Linkby has successfully opened the world of premium publishing up to a new world of brands by providing a performance-based, measurable, fast, and truly scalable way to work with publishers. In doing so, we have secured millions of dollars of incremental revenue for over 300 publishers across the globe.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“My co-founder, Chris Warishenia, also Co-Founded Australia's biggest Youth Publishing Platform, Pedestrian.tv, where we also worked together. By running one of Australia's biggest publishers for 15 years, we gained deep insights into what the industry needed, and that's how we started working on the ideas that today is Linkby.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“Due to the success of Pedestrian.tv (the publisher previously mentioned), we managed to run Linkby completely bootstrapped for 1 year. Then we took investment from a boutique VC fund from Australia that allowed us to quickly scale in to 4 more markets. (and more coming later this year).”
How big is your team?
“We are almost 50 staff across many different markets now. We run a lean team, but we are currently looking for the best of the best in sales and other specialist roles.”
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Who is your target market? How did you determine this?
“We are a two-sided marketplace, so on one side, we work with the biggest publishers in the world, and on the other side, we work with D2C brands from all categories. Our biggest categories include Beauty, Fashion, Home, Tech and Health.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“Through hard work and leveraging contacts, we had in the industry. Once we were established in AU, it was surprisingly easy to leverage that and go global, the problems we fix are truly global...it turns out.”
What is your primary marketing strategy?
“We get tons of business from incoming brands and publishers that have heard of us and want to work with us. We also work on a global outreach strategy.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“GROWTH and probability. We have a huge focus on client satisfaction and retention, we are not something brands [that] publishers use once; our business depends on long and fruitful relationships on both side of our marketplace.”
What was the biggest obstacle you encountered while launching your company? How did you overcome it?
“The industry is fraught with legacy and the old way of doing things. Being a true disrupter in the space always comes with a few neigh sayers. But luckily, our products are quite addictive once you see the power of what we can do, so normally all it takes is a small trail before everyone wants more and more.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“How comfortable you can get working 18 [hours].”
What is your #1 piece of advice for startup founders?
“Get the right people in the room. Build a team of superstars that do what you want them to do far better than you do. You are only as good as your team.”
More on Linkby
Adrian Fagerlund, co-founder of Linkby, joined the podcast to discuss how he has recruited and vetted his team of top-tier talent across the globe.