Social Arcade’s Mariano Di Murro indicates: We offer solutions that can be used by people with no programming or technical knowledge.
Product / Service Offering: Social Arcade, aimed at creative agencies and SMEs, is an online drag and drop template service for launching branded applications, quizzes and games.
Co-founder Interviewed: Mariano Di Murro – CEO
Other Key Management Team Members: Zafer Balbous
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you?
I was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. Being Irish Italian, I tend to be very laid back and not take myself too seriously. I also have a great passion for what I do and what I put my name on. I love the idea of using games and gamification for advertising, training, and teaching.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
Before starting Social Arcade, all founders worked in a partnership as a third party content creator for marketing companies in Ireland and the United Kingdom. During that time, we talked and worked directly with our future customers and saw the need for our product. The main insight we have is our backgrounds in games design. We understand how fun, interactive content is going to be big in the future of advertising. A 3-minute mini-game where you can win a prize offers more feedback and product recall with customers than a 3-minute radio advertisement ever could.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
With marketing budgets today, marketers cannot afford to develop something new with creative agencies for every campaign. During the research, we began to spot a pattern where agencies are now employing people with Photoshop experience, as the cost of outsourcing changes to graphics is no longer worthwhile.
Social Arcade takes away any need for programming knowledge, allowing these agencies and in-house creative teams to save thousands in outsourcing and creates engaging, branded content.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
We offer solutions that can be used by people with no programming or technical knowledge. Our games are created in HTML5 and are cross-platform. They can run from almost any computer or mobile device.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
Coming from a mostly technical background, the main challenges I had were all from the business side of setting up a company. The legal and accounting needs can take up a lot of time. The best solution I found was to find a reliable firm who has experience in dealing with start-ups and offers good rates. It will not be cheap, but it frees up time to work on product or meet with customers.
Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
Simply put yourself out there, go to events, and network. It may seem hard at first and take a lot of time and effort. Those early connections you make really pay off in the long term.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
The only thing I would have done differently was launch the product sooner. I think it is easy to always want to refine before releasing a MVP or Beta. Feature creep is a real problem. It is important to get the paying customer’s opinions as soon as possible.
Have there been any questions you have had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?
It is always hard to know what investors look for in a company. In the end it is best to concentrate on getting customers and validation. Those are the metrics that will get investors interested.
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What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
Making the move to the United States has been a great challenge for the company. Simple things from driving on the right side of the road to the different date format are all taking time to get used to. In the end there are far more things in common between Ireland and the United States than differences.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
You can learn as much from failing as from succeeding in a startup and in life.