The cooala social hub makes brand websites engaging, beautiful and social. Brands can build their own audience and nurture ambassadors instead of losing them to other social media networks. The founders, in many years, learnt “how people like to engage with brands” and built cooala. Cooala helps brands to get back their control over social media.
Meet the founders!
1. Mike Schwede, the CEO – Serial Entrepreneur since 21, marketing advisor and influencer with technical background. He built and sold one of the biggest Swiss online marketing agencies.
2. Fabian Buergy, the UX Stylist, Creative Director, Digital creative since 15 years with strong agency background. An artist and a stone sculptor.
3. Ben Stähli, Djangonaut, Web & Responsive Development. An Agile web developer, Pythonist, and Djangonaut, Musician.
4. Chris Roth, Master of technology, CTO, MSc ETH Computer Sciences. Developed the big scalable stuff for CS, SBB, Swisscom, UBS. Loves Hawaiian big waves.
5. Sinan Yasargli, iPhone Magician, iOS Developer. He has a BA in Engineering and Science.
Mike founded and sold one of the biggest online marketing agencies in Switzerland. He brought many brands digital and social. He thought something is wrong in the strategy, which is driving traffic to social networks away from the web site to engage there. Thus they founded cooala.
“We first built an app which aggregated news and offers about brands in a stream.” says Mike. He adds, “User could subscribe to the brands they were interested in.” However, because of the lack of original brand content, it wasn’t really engaging. So we developed the cooala social hub to empower brands to create their own easy communities. At the same time we get great content for our mobile app.”
When we asked Mike about the biggest challenge they’ve faced, he said, “Switzerland is a hard place for tech startups. Investors are focused on bio tech / med tech and do not understand online marketing. Brands don’t take risks and don’t want to work with people with new, unproven ideas. So it wasn’t encouraging and we had no money.” Fortunately, cooala was chosen by the web summit as an “Alpha startup”. “We had a little booth where we met Rose of the London based startup accelerator collider.io which connects brands and startups together.” recalls Mike. Cooala also got some funding. Lack of funds was the next big hurdle. “We are looking forward to generate paying customers and to get bigger funding. We just got Ikea on board.” Mike tells us.
Cooala has the following competitors at the moment –
1. Wordpress: can be integrated within cooala’s hub, but it’s “harder to sell because they already have something social on their website.
2. Tumblr: because it’s about the same, but cooala has interactive social modules and not only text and picture.
3. Curating Tools like Twinesocial or Rebelmouse; But they do aggregation of other social networks and drive traffic away to those networks. Cooala’s “idea is the publish original content in a social way on your owned media and bring traffic from social networks.”
The founders want to set up brands and other publishers (media, influencers) in Switzerland, UK and Germany. After getting some seed funding, they also want to take Cooala to North America. Cooala’s target users are marketers, content and social managers for small and big companies, publishers, bloggers, influencers and agencies who need to set up temporary or permanent content hubs.
Cooala monetizes using SaaS model. Besides, it also plans to “promote your content on other social networks and native advertising networks, so that it can get a share of the media money.”. “In the third step, we relaunch our mobile app which aggregates content of different brands into one place. Brands can reach out there new customers/subscribers. So we’re building a platform. That’s also a media model.” Mike tells us.
Please visit http://cooa.la/ for more information.