By @SimonCocking. We spoke with Erik Bullen, CEO of MageMail, a startup that provides a marketing automation SaaS platform for online retailers. Erik has been actively involved in the entrepreneurial and enterprise innovation world since his first startup during university and has held leadership responsibilities at companies including frog design, Brightcove, and NerveWire.
Describe the company – the elevator pitch …
Our SaaS suite of marketing automation products extends the capabilities of major ecommerce platforms (e.g., Magento, Shopify) and helps online retailers to increase revenue through stronger lead generation, customer conversion, engagement, and retention. For example, MageMail can be used to easily design emails and site popups and to manage triggers for abandoned carts, orders, coupons, and life events.
How are you different?
First, we solve a very specific, big problem in the ecommerce industry, which is converting customers and getting them to come back to your store to buy more of your merchandise.
Second, we obsess over the customer experience and success. We make everything easy and rewarding and firmly believe that properly applying design and analytics are differentiators for us and our customers.
Third, our results driven pricing guarantees that we’re motivated by our customers’ success. Our simple pricing is based on 3% of generated sales, meaning that we only get paid if our customers increase sales with our services. There is no up-front, monthly, or yearly commitment as you find with many other SaaS companies.
Fourth, tying together the three points above, our mission is to build a business and product that customers love and that adds real value. That means that we never stand still and are always guided by product market fit.
MageMail includes powerful and customizable analytics
Why will the company/product do well?
Fundamentally, it’s always about three factors, which are the market, the product, and the team. For us, we see a significant market opportunity, the product’s value has been proven, and we have an amazing, smart, and passionate team.
Where are you based?
Our headquarters are in Boston with additional locations in Silicon Valley, London, Riga, Saigon. We’re also planning for more growth in the European market, and Ireland is definitely on our radar.
One of MageMail’s coolest features: compare yourself
When was the company launched?
MageMail was founded in May 2013. It was acquired by FE International – a M&A firm and Investment Bank – in July 2016. We’re still in startup mode, but FE’s backing allows us to invest the money, resources, and operational talent to prepare the company for the next stage of growth .
What have been your biggest wins to date?
First, MageMail’s adoption and reputation in the market. Customers love the product once they start using it. Second, MageMail’s acquisition by FE International. This is the first time that FE decided to keep and grow a start-up business in-house. It’s a proof-point for MageMail’s potential and will be a blueprint for future transactions.
What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?
E-commerce businesses across the world, ideally with more than $100K in annual revenue, although we do serve smaller stores as well. We have customers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia Pacific and are expanding into other regions.
Tell us about your team?
One word: Awesome. It’s all about people, and we our team members have passion, commitment, and integrity. We’re all focused on doing our jobs for the greater good but know how to have fun while doing so.
We believe in a meritocracy of ideas and giving everyone the opportunity to contribute to the success of our customers and the growth of our company. I don’t care how young or inexperienced you are. If you have ideas – and you should – or if you think that someone is wrong, speak up! I don’t know everything nor am I always right.
Size-wise, we have seven people in-house and use partners/contractors for scale across a variety of functions. We have significant hiring plans for the second half of this year and in 2018.
What are your long term plans for your product/company?
Expanding the product and service portfolio to offer a wider and deeper set of solutions for problems we’re solving for our customers. With MageMail, we’re creating a startup incubation blueprint that will be used for future acquisitions of complementary businesses that will allow us to scale and to accelerate growth. However, growth has to come by diligently building a profitable and sustainable business. We’re not looking for a quick exit as some startups do.
What are your favourite tech gadgets?
I’m a gadget geek and early adopter. However, I have a 3 year old daughter, and my world outside of work revolves around her. I love the modern educational toys that merge the physical and digital world and teach kids art, science, technology, and mathematics among other disciplines. Osmo’s game system is one such gadget.
What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?
Voice controlled AI devices from Apple, Google, and Amazon. They are still far too immature to be truly helpful beyond the basics, but I expect them to evolve quickly.
Anything else you’d like to add/we should have asked?
What’s most important for me to build a great company is culture. Establish your culture from day one as a start-up and never, ever compromise on your core principles as you grow.
How do people get in touch with you?
You can reach the MageMail team via the following channels:
Email: [email protected]
Follow our blog, which was recently named one of the great ecommerce blogs to follow in 2017 .
Personally, I’m a digital native and can be contacted by the usual channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Skype, Twitter, email, etc. And yes, I do use a phone as well.