Create a buzz about something worth it! Meet Pune based Entrepreneur, Neil Sequeira who does just that through his venture, BuzzFactory. Swati Maheshwari caught up with him recently for YourStory.inNeil, describe BuzzFactory.
BuzzFactory is a team of social media junkies and content marketing professionals. We work with businesses and brands to develop, build and manage a presence online via social media.
Is this your first entrepreneurial venture?
My fellow classmates and I started a Desk Top Publishing service for friends and neighbors when I was in school. It was an informal startup that lasted for a few months. Moving on to 2000, when I was still in college, I co-founded a Linux driven solutions company with 3 other friends which fell apart soon after it was incorporated for various reasons. It was a short-lived venture but the experience was invaluable, considering I was 18 at the time. I finally revived the startup dream in 2009 with BuzzFactory.
What instigated you to start BuzzFactory?
I spent a few years working with B2B marketing and developed a passion for social media marketing then. Today, most companies are enthusiastic about using social media in their marketing mix, but few can dedicate the time and effort needed on a daily basis to keep up with the needed pace. It was really the passion for social media marketing as well as the nagging desire to launch a startup and grow it into a business that could stand out on its own which sparked the fuse for BuzzFactory.
How do you tackle with the competition?
It’s still a relatively new and constantly evolving space. Although there are some competitors both in India and globally that are establishing themselves in the market, there’s no one or two “go-to” companies that dominate the scene. We’d also like to distinguish ourselves from the plethora of SEO service providers and content mills which follow cookie-cutter processes and bulk content while at the same time not fall into the very high end marketing consultancy and PR firms that cater exclusively to large budget clients.
How did you develop your initial business/client base?
Through ‘The Social Web’, believe it or not! I used social networking sites like Linkedin to get the very first few clients over the initial months. From there on, most clients we ended up working with came through references from existing clients.
Tell us a little about your clients? Where are they based?
You could say that we are location agnostic. Our first customer was located in California and since then we’ve done work for clients located in New York, Helsinki, London, Seattle, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune among other cities. While a centralized office is still on the cards in the near future, the team spread out between cities in India and overseas.
How did you fund the inception of BuzzFactory?
It was self-funded and has been completely organic so far. From the day I quit my job and decided to start-up till the time I had my first client was about 5 days. It involved putting down some ideas, creating a makeshift website on a GoDaddy.com server, getting an international Skype subscription for sales calls, broadband and a laptop. It’s been several months of bootstrapping, frugality and keeping overheads low to grow organically with everything from the offerings, the website and solutions evolving as things moved forward.Are you looking out for funding from external sources in near future?
Yes, we’re currently looking to raise the first small round of early stage angel funding to invest in infrastructure, marketing and expanding capacity. After two years in garage mode, we have more clarity in terms of direction and feel it’s time to break out of this mode and kick it into the next gear, with what we’ve learned so far. We’ve been exploring crowd funding and have some existing customers who have also shown interest.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your team.
I have a marketing background and have constantly been working with startups. So, entrepreneurship and the drive to create has always been a part of my professional environment. Blogging, web content, inbound marketing and social media have been more a passion that I enjoy working on rather than “a job” that needs to be done and my objective was to grow a team that feels the same way. We are currently a team of 10 and 3 interns with each one bringing something different to the table in terms of skills and experience with PR, journalism, social networking, marketing communications and more. The team is distributed across different locations including Pune, Goa, Mumbai, Kerala and the UK.
What is your outreach model?
Much like we’d help promote others organizations! We have a blog through which we share tips and what we’ve learned about online marketing, content and social media. We have a Facebook page where we post updates, participate in discussions on various Linkedin groups and use Twitter.
Could you share your future expansion plans with us?
The immediate future plan is to raise a small amount of initial funding, set up an office with centralized team in Pune and a more aggressive marketing effort will follow to step up client acquisition.
For more info on creating the buzz, visit http://www.buzzfactory.in/