Lucila Campos makes moves.
Originally from Buenos Aires, she moved to Mexico City for a few months when the company she cofounded, Funne.ly, was accepted into 500 Startups. Then she moved to San Francisco to immerse herself in the tech world and get funding. Then she moved to Manhattan, and several months ago, to Williamsburg. Her latest move was to help raise nearly a million dollars last month from Verizon Ventures.
“When you’ve been working from Argentina your whole life and you go and sit in Sand Hill Road with a VC you’re like, ‘Oh my God.’ But we learned to feel like we’re there because we deserve to be there,” she said in an interview over drinks on an unusually cold recent winter night.
Funne.ly’s service is to automate advertising for small to mid-sized companies. You know those ads that follow you around from site to site? Like, for instance, if you spent a literal week researching the specs of coffeemakers and then coffeemaker ads follow you around on every site you visit and on Facebook, and maybe there’s even a coffeemaker Instagram ad that pops up on your feed? You might have Funne.ly to thank for that.
“Everyone is doing this now but some ways are creepy and others are like, ‘Hey, you put something in your cart but never bought it. Here’s a discount, why don’t you buy it now?'” Campos explained. “We want to get a win-win, where it’s something you’re interested in and we’ll bring you back with a specific promotion.”
Funne.ly’s main clients are companies that don’t have expertise in ecommerce. This includes traditional brick-and-mortar stores that are having trouble with online sales, to successful boutique-y online stores that are ready to take it to the next level.
The company’s value proposition is that it will manage the whole sales funnel for the client company. If a store is getting a lot of traffic but not a lot of sales, Funne.ly’s software will target ads for closing customers. If the rate of purchases is fine but there’s not enough on them, Funne.ly’s software will focus ads on gaining traffic to the store. It’s automated and it’s fast, able to respond to the market more or less in real time.
Campos started Funne.ly two years ago, in December of 2013 in Buenos Aires, where she’s from, with cofounders Susana Cipriota, Gabriel Maffia and Juan Pablo Mansor. The company was accepted into 500 Startups in Mexico City, which Campos said made a huge impact on the way they looked at their product, and offered a terrific support network.
In San Francisco, Campos helped raise a successful seed round, but found the city ultimately lacking.
“If you’re seated here having a beer, everyone around you is talking about who invested in who, who acquired who. … It’s like give me a break, please. It’s insane,” she said. “Here you can actually nurture your company from different stuff, learn from companies that are not in your space because they have no idea what the fuck a VC is.”
Campos moved from East Village to Williamsburg with her boyfriend, a startup founder in the cloud computing space with an exit, last year mainly for a better quality of life.
“We started coming to Brooklyn every weekend for Smorgasburg [or] to visit friends,” she said. “When we were looking at apartments we could get a bigger apartment for the same money with more lights and go to the coffee shop and there’s no line and have dinner on a Tuesday without reservations. Williamsburg is perfect, it’s super equipped. During the week it’s pretty calm and on the weekends there’s a lot to do.”
With the latest seed money, Campos said Funne.ly expanded the team by hiring some developers, a UX person and a customer-facing person, which doubles the size of the team to 10 people. She said they might in the future look at expanding advertising onto platforms other than Facebook and Instagram, like Pinterest. I asked why they’re not on Twitter and Campos said that when they were starting out, Twitter was difficult to work with.
“At the beginning we were like, ‘We want to use your platform for selling ads to our customers,’ and they were like. ‘Yeah ok, we’ll see.’ Is that a yes or a no or what? Facebook was interested in what we were doing and we had a product demo with them and they were proactive so we’re on Facebook and they have Instagram so we’re there,” she said. “I’m not sure if people are actually buying on Twitter, I’d have to see the numbers.”
When talking about goals, Campos said she wants the company to become profitable and grow organically in the near future. Long term, because their company uses other platforms to sell their service, she thinks an eventual acquisition is more likely than an IPO.
“But as long as we’re making money and showing results, adding platforms, creating value for our customers, simplifying their lives, keep growing, then what happens after that, I don’t care.”-30-