The performance marketing and attribution modelling startup I founded likely made 40 million CHF more in profit than Siroop in its first year. As you maybe heard Siroop is now being folded into microspot: https://www.blick.ch/news/wirtschaft/coop-uebernimmt-komplett-swisscom-gibt-onlineshop-siroop-ch-den-schuh-id8244357.html
This isn’t because we did anything particularly remarkable.
Typically our clients improve their marketing ROI 15% or more. We focused on finding product market fit and only then starting to scale. In our first year we have landed some of the worlds largest electronics companies as clients (whose names we are not allowed to publish). We analyse and optimise customer journeys for some of the worlds biggest performance marketers. This is quite a nice achievement for a startup originating from Switzerland. We are also very active in APAC region via our Singapore office.
First lets have a quick look at what Siroop’s numbers could look like. This is a very rough estimate, if you have more exact figures please get in touch or comment below.
200 Employees costing approximately 150 000 each per year including social costs.
200 * 150 000 = 30M
Marketing costs, very rough estimate: 15M
Total costs of 45M CHF
If we look on the revenue side of things there have been public estimates of a total revenue 25M to 50M. If we assume 50M with a margin of 10% this would mean a total margin of 5M. In electronics the margin is smaller but lets be generous and assume its 10%. Some percentages would not change the calculations much.
45M Costs and income of 5M would mean a loss of 40M CHF.
We at windsor.ai were profitable last year. This was our first year and growth month on month has been huge. We have gotten some of the worlds largest electronics companies and large financial institutions as clients whose marketing we are helping to optimise with advanced attribution modelling.
We have a few principles we follow. I will lay them out here.
Product market fit before scaling
In the start we set out to solve the data-silo challenge we saw many companies having. This is a huge challenge for many companies but it proved too abstract to sell. So we adapted a bit and started focusing on the marketing data and attribution modelling. This way big advertisers usually get an immediate improvement in their marketing ROI. Typically this has been 15% increase in marketing ROI. But in some companies it has been bigger, it depends a lot on how well analysed and optimised the marketing ROI is.
Only after finding this product-market fit we started scaling.
Innovating together with the customers
We noticed quite quickly that marketing is currently changing rapidly. Many of the persons who have been in marketing for a long time are not used to working with data and numbers. Marketing is more and more about data and numbers. So we quite quickly adapted so instead of just providing a tool we also have weekly calls with all our clients with our data scientists so we can go trough all the findings and dive deeper in any possible topics.
This is also a wonderful opportunity to get feedback on new features and on the platform in general.
What we have noticed is one thing the most successful companies, like Smartly.io, Supercell, Bridgewater Associates have in common. They all have extreme and radical transparency. Ray Dalio’s company Bridgewater Associates record _every_ meeting in the company and distributes the recordings to all employees. Smartly.io has only open chat-channels. As the founder and CEO of Pixar Ed Catmull put it: “If you have more honesty in your corridors than in the meeting rooms you have a problem.” We fiercely encourage honesty and candour.
Best idea wins
This takes a bit of carefulness, attention and sensitivity. The challenge here is to care for the culture so that not rank or the most dominant person gets his ideas pushed forward. But instead finding the best ideas and rapidly testing them out.
We’re all full-stack
Everyone in the company does a bit of development, sales and customer support. This means that we effectively eliminate silos and everyone has the full context all the time. When someone sells they know exactly what they are selling and do not inflate expectations. Everyone can also fix and improve the product very fast. Even while meeting a client if needed.
We do not mistake ping-pong tables or free snacks for culture
Culture is not what is written on the walls or the nice statements HR department has crafted and printed out about values and culture. Culture runs so much deeper. It drives how we work every day with our customers and as a team, determines who we hire, and how we’ll reach our vision.
All in all we think the startup climate in Switzerland very vibrant and active. Switzerland has one of the most active startup scenes in Europe. Its a bit unfortunate that the corporate ventures are not as successful as they could be. We believe Switzerland is the best place in the world to launch a global startup.