Today, the Dublin-based Popdeem is going from strength to strength, enabling brands to reward users who share experiences, either through a sweepstakes or an instant redemption. CEO and co-founder of Popdeem, Richard Whelan, said that the idea of Popdeem arose from feeling “sick of Facebook advertising” and the “really disruptive” way brands connected to users online.
It was felt by the founders that there must be a better way of integrating into the conversation on the social network, and sure enough, Popdeem was born, a non-disruptive solution providing brands with a means of rewarding their customers for sharing their experience.
With Popdeem, a brand can become much more easily integrated into a friend’s conversation.
The challenges that led up to Popdeem
However, the Popdeem story has also been marked out by challenges – in the past, present and the months to come. Whelan has cited the founders’ biggest challenge as the decision to shut down their original company, Study Buddy, which was a desktop application allowing users to lock themselves off Facebook for a few hours.
Although Study Buddy was successful in attracting initial investment, it was eventually decided to shift the focus to Popdeem. As for the biggest challenge that lies ahead over the next three months, that – according to Whelan – will be the transition of Popdeem from a consumer-facing service to an enterprise solution for larger brands.
That transition will need to be as smooth as possible, and it will also be a vital one if Popdeem is to successfully hit larger enterprises, rather than simply local businesses.
Plenty of lessons learned from experience
When asked to give one lesson he had learned starting his business, Whelan replied: “Persistence”. He said that having initially expected it to be easier, he had grown to realise just how much dedication starting his own business required. There was the need to step back and realise that this business was one to which he was going to commit one, two or three years of his life.
As for what tip he would give to start-ups, Whelan continued: “Everyone will experience hard blows along the way. Some days you think you’ve made it and you’re the next Facebook, others you think it’s doomsday.” He stressed that start-ups needed to “be persistent and rise above the knocks. Those moments you push through adversity are what makes you.”
Whelan pointed to the many other now-large companies that had experienced similar travails as a potential source of inspiration for start-ups to not give up after one bad day, but instead “stick it out”.
Popdeem a winner among customers
Finally, Whelan is in no doubt about why a customer should choose Popdeem over the alternatives, albeit with the caveat that “It comes down to what the brand is looking for. If you’re looking for a platform that will bridge the gap between social networks and physical retail, we can do it. If you fit into the niche, then we’re the right way to go.”