Australian social media tech startup Stackla has a bunch of big name clients, has a run rate of about $2.7 million a year and is expecting to double revenue in the next 12 months.
But you can be forgiven for never having heard of them – while their game is marketing other brands they haven’t managed to capture many headlines for themselves.
Stackla’s technology works by aggregating and displaying all the social media content which is floating around about a client’s brand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Their list of business clients reads like a B20 delegate list. It includes Shell, Toyota, Citibank, Qantas, Myer, The Department of Immigration, the Australian Labor Party and their British counterparts.
It’s also huge in the sports industry. Stackla this week announced a partnership with the Commonwealth Games, and has been working alongside both Manchester United and Tottenham football clubs, a number of American football teams, as well as almost every major Australian sporting body and their associated clubs including cricket, the NRL, AFL, golf and tennis.
The platform can be used to publish across any number of mediums including the web, mobile apps, big screens in stadiums or even on floating orbs in the sky – which is what Stackla did at the recent State of Origin.
— Twitter Australia (@TwitterAU) June 18, 2014
The Sydney-based founders Damien Mahoney and Peter Cassidy came up with the idea in 2011 while helping NRL teams develop content for social media (the kind of content the league wants shared). What they realised many brands were directing users away from their websites.
But it never set out to be a startup – the pair were running a digital agency at the time and wanted to build a product to use in the existing company.
The business potential wasn’t realised until Stackla was built. The team has now expanded to about 15 employees with an office in Sydney, one in the UK and another in San Francisco.
“We were probably lucky that we had the agency there to support the prototype. I think without that we probably wouldn’t of been able to do it,” Mahoney told Business Insider. “We bootstrapped it.”
The proliferation of social media and technology meant fans were creating a heap of awesome content but it wasn’t being captured and used to build the brand. A pretty powerful realisation considering customer endorsement is usually better than a company just telling everyone how great they are.
“I guess we’ve classified ourselves as a startup but we haven’t followed the traditional model most startups do,” he said.
“We never intended to build a startup, our intention was to build a product.
“We’ve never read a lean startup manual in our lives, we’ve never attended any pitch events or mentoring sessions. We just kind of used our own common sense and resources that we drew upon from our experience.”
The company’s next move will involve implementing social commerce tech into its offering. It’s already got Myer and Apparel Group (which includes SABA) on board.
The iteration works by showing a customer images at the point of sale of products, like the one they’re looking at purchasing, being used or worn by punters on social media.
Mahoney said this next step came when the startup realised buyers regularly look for reviews or endorsements via social media before making a purchase and those product mentions by customers hold more weight than an advertisement.