More and more social startups are beginning to harness the power of the social web to replace traditional “word of mouth” advertising. It’s always been said that “word of mouth” advertising is the best way to advertise a product, service, brand, store or restaurant. In fact, we reported earlier this week on Barrel of Jobs, a Washington DC startup using the social web for “word of mouth” connecting jobs to good quality candidates.
New York startup tipspring is using the power of the social web and it’s “word of mouth” advertising to promote major brands. On their website they call tipspring a marketplace for sharing and saving, and who doesn’t like sharing and saving. Not only that but tipspring allows users to accumulate points to win some really great gifts.
tipspring’s founder Greg Doran has said that users have won prizes like $1,000 gift cards and VIP invites to top fashion shows in New York City. What Doran has essentially done is taken many of the most popular brands who offer their own loyalty and reward programs and put them together in one central marketplace. Gone are the days that you have to sign up for twenty different reward clubs and then remember to go back and check them.
We got a chance to interview Doran about tipspring. Check out the interview below:
What is your startup, what does it do?
Tipspring is a social referral and loyalty marketplace. Our network brings together Brands like Buffalo Jeans, The Children’s Place, Betsey Johnson, Brooks Sports, Moving Comfort and more with consumer advocates who by referring sales to our brands over social and “old” channels like email, earn loyalty points. Those points are redeemable for free products from those same brands. Tipspring points are a shared currency whereby Members can earn them by referring sales to one brand but redeem them for free products from another within our Marketplace. No more joining multiple refer a friend and loyalty programs for each brand you love. We centralize it all. Above and beyond those points are very exclusive rewards for top performers. For our time based campaigns, everyone keeps the points they earn. Top performing Members however have in the past won $1000 Gift Cards, $500 Gift Cards and even seats to exclusive fashion shows at Lincoln Center in NYC. Word or mouth marketing incentived by products and experiences from the very brands our Members are promoting rather than cash.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds
Tipspring was founded by Greg Doran. Greg was a key early employee at Linkshare, one of the pioneers in affiliate marketing where he focused on data architecture and distribution. We are talking about a new type of affiliate marketing here on social right? Just with new types of “affiliates”. Between his time at Linkshare and founding Tipspring, Greg spent 6 seasons at MLB.com where he created and oversaw one of the largest teams in the company focused on business intelligence, CRM, database marketing, web analytics and more. Joining Greg on the leadership team: Olumide Adebayo, most recently the head of engineering at Linkshare with time also spent at Lucent and Marketplayer. Leo Downing is formally the SVP of sales and an executive team member at e-dialog, a venture backed email marketing firm sold to GSI. Lydia Gollner brings over 20 years of experience from the world of fashion having held executive positions at several high end brands including as President at Kenneth Cole
Where are you based?
We are based in New York City.
What is the startup culture like where you are based?
New York as you know is thriving. We work out of General Assembly which is at the center of it all. Specifically to our culture, because we bring so many years of experience to the space and to our specific roles, our culture is all about freedom to do what you think needs to be done and doing it fast. We collaborate quite a bit but each know our strengths and go.
What problem does your startup solve?
Our focus is every brand’s biggest problem, acquiring new customers and making them more loyal customers. We are focused on driving e-commerce over the social channels. We will not be another social guru company that sells noise to brands. The proven affiliate model, like ours puts it’s money where its mouth is. Others can help brands get likes and followers, we’ll focus on helping them makes some bucks…..cause like Gordon Gecko said, the rest is just conversation.
What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?
Getting over rejection that you get from people. No hard feelings but their loss. Get me at a bar late night and you might hear a few hard feelings but. . .
Who are your mentors and role models?
Heidi and Steve Messer(Founders of Linkshare and the next big thing Collective[i] as well as friends and advisors), Joe Choti (MLB.com, the best CTO in the digital world and a complete animal in the best sense of the word), John Rizzi (Former CEO at E-dialog, an investor and great ear alway
Whats one thing the world doesn’t know about you or your startup?
We are a startup so I’d have to say that we exist. We are getting there though.
What’s next for your startup?
We have some big brand names launching soon so its going to be all about supporting the cr*p out of them and making sure they are happy.
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