Last Thursday, 10 new companies pitched to Seattle’s tech startup and investor community for the 2012 TechStars Demo Day. The event was the first primetime platform for the builders to share their visionary products with the world and marked the close of the year’s local program that finances, nurtures, and mentors a select group of startups each year from hundreds of applicants. Demo Day offers each company’s founders a stage and six minutes to show off the wares they’ve been developing over the last three months.
Flip caught up with Adam Loving, co-founder of Linksy, one of this year’s TechStars companies, to share the thoughts on being an entrepreneur and involved with the program.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been building stuff? What have you worked on previously?
I’m a growth hacker with 17 years professional expertise. I’ve been a computer hacker since the 1980s; I was cited in Lotus Magazine in my early teens. My passion for viral user experience design led me to create Twibes (currently ranked first in Google for “Twitter groups”) and Zuckerbucks, the first virtual currency on Facebook.
Is there a theme in the products/projects that you work on? If so, what is it?
I’ve always been drawn to social applications and the psychology of user experience design rather than complex algorithm or big data problems.
What’s your pitch with Linksy?
Linksy helps you get more clicks by utilizing your advocates’ social networks to spread important messages.
How does Linksy work?
Write a message with a URL that you want to share. Select the people that you want to share your message. And we’ll send them an email, asking them to share your message across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +.
As your advocates open the invitation email and share your message on their social networks, you’ll see the clicks and shares roll-in on our beautiful dashboard with surround sound.
Why do you need a Linksy?
Whether it’s a marketing campaign or a new product launch, every marketer’s big fear: there’s no big buzz. Instead, it’s the big thud.
Linksy helps solve the problem. By getting advocates to share your news, Linksy will build the buzz that’s important during the early hours of a new marketing campaign and product launch. Think of it as booster rockets for a space shuttle; every marketing campaign needs some extra help in the beginning.
What’s an advocate?
An advocate can be your employees, customers, fans, friends, family, and business collaborators.
When was your a-ha moment?
I was doing contract work at both Gist.com and BigDoor.com. At both companies, I saw the VP of marketing doing the same thing. They would email their supporters and get them to share a message.
What do you think Linksy, and the need it fulfills, says about the state of media right now?
Electronic word of mouth is becoming our primary means of discovering content. Marketers need to be smart to spread messages that are authentic and interesting.
Who’s using Linksy?
Start-up marketers, community managers, SEO’s, HR professionals, politicians, and non-profits.
What’s been your most notable use case so far?
Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz used Linksy to promote a marketing channel survey. Rather than just tweeting a link himself, he used Linksy to leverage 31 advocates. Together they got over 3,000 clicks to the survey.
What does Linksy look like in five years?
We expect Linksy to be making millions of dollars in revenue helping big brands spread their message via their advocates. The social media tools market is rapidly evolving, and it is highly likely that our team and technology will be acquired by a bigger company.
How did you first get involved with TechStars?
I was aware of it because it is a big part of the Seattle startup scene. Friends (and former bosses) who are mentors in the program encouraged me to apply. Since TechStars now offers a $100K convertible note investment – it became a feasible source of funding.
What role is TechStars playing in helping Linksy realize its full potential?
- Emphasis on customer development process.
- Mentorship from successful entrepreneurs and investors.
- Education in fundraising for founders with technical and product backgrounds
As a developer, what advice do you have for folks on the media or marketing side of things?
Knowing your medium is as important as knowing your message. Package and present your content in a format that will spread to where your readers and viewers are looking for it. Utilizing your professional network is is key to distributing content successfully.
Reports from last Thursday’s event suggest that this year’s cohort might be the best of the local franchise’s three-year run. As for Linsky, this is what Robert Scoble has to say: “I liked Linksy because I am an influencer and so that was interesting to me. I’m on the marketing team at RackSpace, so I am always looking for good ways to market.”
Read more reviews and coverage of the big day on GeekWire.