Startup Interviews / Neticle Founder Peter Szekeres

Fact Sheet

Name of product (Startup): Neticle Media Intelligence
Interviewee: Peter Szekeres
Founder’s relevant nationality: Hungary
Financing method: Series A from Hiventures
Website / Crunchbase link: https://neticle.com/

Product

Can you please very briefly summarise your solution?

We automatically analyze online customer voice and provide real-time reports and insights to companies.

Product-market evolution

What phase are you in currently with your product?

(Source)

I think we are in the product fit stage. We work hard to have the best product/market fit we constantly as feedback from existing clients and potential ones. We record this feedback and analyze it quarterly to add data-driven input for product roadmap planning. This helps us to prioritize well and avoid unnecessary in-house debates on priorities.

When did you found your company and how long did it take to reach your current state?

We have started Neticle in 2012. Seven years ago, right after university. It took us 1 year to create the initial, presentable version of Neticle Media Intelligence. At this time we had to realize that even a tech SaaS company needs it’s 50% focus on business development/marketing/sales combo. Then in 2013, we had our first client that thought us that b2b sales cycle can be long: from 6 months to even 9 months. In 2015 we had a great product, that is sellable so within 2 years we become market leaders and started to focus on international developments and for 6 months we are building 8 international markets.

What were the biggest lessons learned moments?

That even a really good product can fail without good sales. There is no product selling itself. You had to communicate the benefits and use-cases as simple and as memorable as possible.

How many times did you change direction (“pivoted”) / how similar is your product currently to the original idea?

Actually, we are aligned with the original direction. Though the product is much smarter and smoother now: it is now supporting validated work-flows we know our clients having and the product is not just a platform with lots of functions. So we have iterated a lot and we also made a big release in 2018, when the second version came out: this meant a total redesign in the architecture to be able to utilize the latest technologies we learned that time.

Can you mention a memorable customer feedback about your product?

Yes, automated sentiment analysis is not that exact science as seems for first sight: sometimes even client reps are arguing whether a comment is positive or negative. This actually happened at meetings several times.

What information would have been good to know about your market or product before starting your company?

That the most important KPI’s are for our clients: the number of online mentions we find and the exact precision of our automated text analysis algorithm.

Founders, Team

How many ideas, entrepreneurial attempts did you have before your actual project?

This is the first, but we already have 3 products at Neticle related to automated text analysis.

What was your (inner) motivation behind launching your first Startup?

I wanted to work on something unique and create jobs from nothing. Both became true. 🙂

How many co-founders are in the team and when did each of you join the company?

There are 3 of us and we started together after a big university party but before a huge hangover. 🙂

How has your team changed since the beginning?

We started 3 and now we are 42. Growing means constant change, we try to keep the hierarchy low.

How do you govern your startup, what is your approach to decision making?

Every team member has one or more role. And each role can make decisions. Though we are sharing and explaining everything because sometimes other team members have inspiring questions or ideas and things will be better.

Did you have any particularly difficult decisions (as a team) – and of course, what and why?

When you have to fire someone. It is very hard because you are also mentor and leader for your team and feel close to them. But sometimes this is the best for everyone.

Startup World

Do you expect anything (generally) unexpected in the startup world in the next 3 years?

That we will accept that a company can grow steadily but not too rapidly for 5 or 10 years. It is even more valuable if a company can adopt for customer and market needs for years.

What do you find especially challenging as a Hungarian startup?

To sell in Western countries. We have lower price-level and country reputation and we need to manage this.

Do you see any benefits of being a Hungarian startup?

Companies are quite open for innovation in Hungary so it is relatively easy to sell new stuff here. Budapest is also a good place to build a tech or dev HQ of a company that will be operating internationally. Though taxes are high even for startups.


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