Persollo: Bringing Converstion To E-Sellers & Making Sure They Never Part Again

Published on:

Persollo, the first in-market e-commerce influencer marketing platform, was co-founded by two Ukrainians in Australia. Olga Oleinikova explains why the startup chose Down Under over Europe:

No doubt, the world of today is one huge vanity fair – and we love it. On the bright side, brand shopping is no longer a privilege of the higher class: nice, trendy things can be bought cheap and shipped straight to your door from anywhere in the world. On the other side, we have become captives to our attention crave. We have not even noticed how this quest for accumulating ‘likes’ on Facebook has leapt far beyond “keeping up with the Kardashians” or any other demigod-like, isolated cult figure (“influencer”) whom you will probably never meet on the streets. Now, it is all about being just like your local fashion & lifestyle blogger.

Persollo were among the first to spot the emerging social media trends and capitalize on it. The startup provides click-through purchase capability from social media posts and allows brands to run e-commerce campaigns with influencers.

Digital banking is now thriving in Europe – more and more founders are turning their eye towards optimizing bitcoin payments, synchronizing credit card details or enabling smart asset management. It may seem that everything has already been said and done in the industry: key players are closing million-euro rounds, forming the orbit of their own around bankers’ hotspots like Geneva, Luxembourg, Frankfurt. And still, this Australian-based enterprise teaches us Europeans a huge lesson: it is not always about throwing money at R&D and the expansion of development teams. Customers anyway only go for the ideas which spare them of unnecessary effort. That’s exactly the way of thinking that united the founders of Persollo.

What else makes Persollo special? The answer is skyrocketing growth. In the beginning, they were just a team of wantrepreneurs with no budget and hardly anything else in their backpack but a raw idea.
And yet, within less than two years Persollo has raised conversions and mobile checkout numbers by up to 300% for more than 600 e-boutique businesses across 13 countries; winning the loyalty of brands like New Balance, Marie Claire, Better Homes & Gardens, Australian UGGs Original, Cecily Clune, Dex, among others.

Want to know how these newbies built a FinTech with a global presence? Olga Oleinikova, CEO and co-founder of Persollo, has agreed to share some secrets with StartUs Magazine readers.

To start with, what is Persollo?

Persollo is a data-driven tech company. With our passion for social media marketing, tech, and innovation, we created Persollo to help brands and most influential content creators transform their social following and likes into sales / revenue.

Surprisingly, the reality shows that out of 400 likes on average brands will get only 4 sales (1% conversion). Persollo bypasses online shops and cumbersome shopping carts, capitalizing on impulse purchasing behavior at the point of interest, thus optimizing conversion.

How does the system actually work?

Our tech allows click through payments straight from social networks / digital magazine / video / blog and key influencers. With our tech, users can monetize virtually anything and easily run e-commerce campaigns with top influencers globally.

Let’s imagine that you follow some brand on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Typically, you would see their new collection updates and enticing images of their products in your news feed. Above the images, in the same post, they will tell you to click the link and go the website to make the purchase. Today it takes 10 steps on average for a customer to complete the purchase. With Persollo we remove all this friction and allow click through transaction straight from the image in just 1-step. We do magic to conversion! We turn the sales funnel into a tunnel. As simple as that.

What was the main factor pushing you to kickstart Persollo?

There are three main reasons:

  1. social media has turned into a new shopping mall;
  2. influencer marketing is booming;
  3. brands and influencers have no or very low conversion (sales) from social media.

Statistics show that we all spend at least 4 hours a day on our favorite social networks and messenger services. I am sure we all have the feeling that social media has turned into a new shopping mall. With one key difference – it’s very easy to shop in a shopping mall, but it’s complex & time-consuming to do it on social media. All our desire and knowledge about the product comes from social media today. We are liking product images and brand pages, we comment on the posts, we get the desire to shop, but we are not buying. Why?

The process of buying from social media is too complicated. There is no way to transact inside and across different social media without being redirected to the brand’s website. 83% of all e-commerce traffic today comes from social networks, with only 1% in conversion. The stats speak for themselves.

Still, e-commerce is a very overcrowded industry. With mega-holdings like Alibaba and Amazon right around the corner, how do you keep afloat in the market?

We are not a payment provider or another marketplace. We are not competing with PayPal, Alibaba or Apple Pay. Big e-commerce players indeed have simplified the checkout procedure with a smooth UX/UI Design, that should empower the impulse-buy. But it does not. They don’t offer 1-step checkout – their process is 3-step, 4-step.

We offer a unique value proposition in this regard – the first in-market e-commerce influencer marketing platform. Persollo goes beyond creating brand awareness and engagement, it drives sales and performs the highest ROI. Also, Persollo is backed by Telstra, the biggest telecommunications and media company in Australia. This also helps! 🙂

Which marketing channels do you use to reach those influencers?

So far we haven’t done any paid marketing activities, we operate through referrals and unpaid press-releases in European and Australian media. As I mentioned before, Persollo powers more than 600 e-boutique businesses across 13 countries; including such big brands as New Balance, Marie Claire, Better Homes & Gardens, Australian UGGs Original, Cecily Clune, Dex, and others. All the buyers and influencers who come to transact with us while buying from these big brands already know well that we exist.

Your startup is an accelerator hatch. Getting back to the basics, what did your journey from idea to launch look like?

In one year we went through two accelerators (1) Sydney University INCUBATE & (2) muru-D, the biggest in Australia startup accelerator. We were four co-founders – two in Ukraine, two in Australia. We had enthusiasm but did not know what to do with it. We decided to pitch our idea to INCUBATE, where got in and received the first initial funding to build the prototype. At that time I was lecturing politics at the University of Sydney. Another one of our co-founders, Kyrylo Medvediev, is an alumnus of the University of Sydney, having graduated with a degree in IT Management. Naturally, we felt very safe to play in this environment. In the next 3 weeks, we’ve built the first version of Persollo. Two months after, we were already working with 180 small merchants who were selling their handmade products and services through our platform. We got traction in 5 different countries and it was at that time we understood there was a demand for our tech.

After INCUBATE, we extensively pitched our business everywhere. We participated in UberPitch, an event where you catch an Uber and in this Uber, you have an investor sitting beside you – you pitch your business while on the ride with a top VC guy. This was not the only event we took part in, there were many others.

Why did you choose Australia to become your principal place of business instead of any European country or startup hub?

We decided to base our business in Australia for the following reasons: (1) two core founders live here and (2) it is a small market, but perfect for testing your product – to scale it later on in Europe or the US.

What’s happening in the startup scene in Australia? Any trend we might have missed in Europe?

Australia is far away from the world’s top innovation hubs and big markets, but there are many things happening here. Innovation is on the agenda of the Australian government, VCs are functioning and startups are emerging. There is a number of state innovation grants that startups can apply for to get some initial funding to build an MVP and make their first hires.

Speaking of success stories out of Australia, there are not so many. The startups that manage to get good traction and their first substantial revenues head to the US. The Australian market is too small – counting 23 millions of customers. Evidently, the market is not that diverse, but at least the society is wealthy and people are ready to experiment and try new products. Its geographical location gives Australian businesses an easy access to trading with the fastest growing economies – China, India – and allows building economic ties with the four Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan).

Building upon Persollo’s success, in your opinion, how should founders approach accelerators? Any insider tips?

Accelerators can be a useful thing at the early start of your business journey. When you are applying to an accelerator you must have a very clear and simple understanding of your own business. You need to be able to express in a couple of sentences what it is that you are doing, how you will make money, who your main customer is, and what team you have behind the product. Of course, it is equally important to have your big vision at the early stage, but at some point of time, this vision or your pathway may transform. You should be ready for it.

Your why is crucial and will keep you going with your business no matter what…and there will be many harsh moments when you might want to give up! There are 3 main things I’ve learned from participating in two accelerators: You need the courage to experiment and pivot. You need an amazing team that shares one vision. And you have to care deeply, sincerely, and constantly for your customers.

The journey you went through is pretty impressive. What obstacles did you face & what’s to come next?

Let’s not skip the fact that I am a female tech founder, there is a great story behind Persollo (with a 16-year-old wunderkind among co-founders and the Ukraine-Australia link). We have gathered a lot of attention. And then we were spotted and chosen by Telstra to join their accelerator muru-D. As a result, they offered a good investment and we received great exposure to the Australian market and top investor networks. That’s how we elevated from a university-run program to the biggest accelerator on the continent. From over 300 applications only 8 businesses got into muru-D’s program, we’re very proud we were one of them. One more exciting thing that will happen soon is a documentary featuring Persollo’s startup journey, which will go live soon.


Sharing is caring!