What: GraphEffect is a platform that enables marketers to work more efficiently together. GraphEffect bring tools to the industry that allow all the stakeholders to work together in an easy and productive way.
They currently have 52 employees, with clients including AMEX, Samsung, Toyota, and Walmart.
Where: They are based in Los Angeles, with offices in New York and Chicago.
Who: We spoke with James Borow, CEO and Co founder of GraphEffect
What was the hunch that got you started?
For the last two years, we focused on helping agencies and brands launch campaigns on Facebook. We realized that social isn’t about optimization or testing, it’s about coordination between stakeholders. Media buys on Facebook, namely Sponsored Stories, are content that have to be approved by various departments. In general, businesses and marketers haven’t been doing a great job at coordinating these efforts.
At GraphEffect, we asked ourselves, ‘How can we provide long-lasting value to our clients?’ The solution was a social network for all the “cooks” to work together on these social campaigns. Agencies have traditionally been somewhat siloed, and we think that there is a huge opportunity for us to break down these walls and make a difference in the core processes of these large organizations.
What have you learned? Did you pivot at any point?
One of our biggest challenges is remaining focused when you are trying to build a platform. We work really hard to make sure we are solving a problem, but we always want to add a new feature…a shiny new object. But at the end of the day, we always ask ourselves , ‘are we making the lives of marketers easier?’
What is your company culture like and how has it influenced the business?
We eat our own dogfood – Everything we do is through the GraphEffect platform. We use it for everything, including email, team coordination, and our marketing. There is a culture here of people who grew up on Facebook, frustrated about how traditional businesses are run, and how inefficient they can be. We also value transparency . Everyone knows what is going on and has a voice. We really benefit from this flat structure. We’ve grown up using social media and we want to bring that into the space where we spend most of our time – the office.
What are your plans for the future?
Our goal is to create the collaboration layer for how people work. We are just opening up our API so that developers can build new apps on our platform. Right now, GraphEffect is all about collaboration on social media campaigns, but in the future, it doesn’t have to be just social. Bringing in third-party developers can open it up to just about anything. Anyone managing a project, working on a presentation, or even building a website for a client could use our platform.
How do you monetize?
To use our collaboration platform, it’s totally free. Most services charge you just to get a seat. We only charge a fee when people start using specific apps and start spending ad dollars. Our model is similar to the Apple app ecosystem, where using the system comes at no cost until you start using applications.
What can brands learn from your company both from process in which you work and the product itself?
It’s really a two-way street. Our clients come from large corporations and agencies and we can learn a lot from those guys.
We believe that transparency and an eye toward efficiency are keys to any business. Agencies and brands need to become more efficient by figuring out how their stakeholders can all work together, and we need to continue to find new ways to help facilitate that process. As we collect more and more data about who people work with and how people work together, we can create tools that simplify even the most complex business interactions.