Be ruthless with hiring the right people and make no compromises

Emanuel Köchert is market lead for the DACH region at the social media advertising platform Smartly.io

He is working with some of the largest Facebook and Instagram advertisers in the region. Previously he has gained experience in B2C companies like Lazada and CupoNation in areas like sales, account management, Facebook marketing, recruitment and content marketing.

Please introduce yourself and your Startup Smartly.io to our readers!
Emanuel Köchert: I am Emanuel Köchert and have been working as a business developer at Smartly.io since June 2015, joining the company as employee number 32, now we are 130. I have been working in online start-ups for five years and have been involved in everything from recruiting to product management.

Smartly.io is one of the fastest growing Facebook Marketing Partners, working with advertisers like eBay, Skyscanner and Home24. Smartly.io is known as a Dynamic Ads and feed specialist, but also offers a full suite of campaign management tools, optimization algorithms, reporting integrations and dedicated account teams in five offices around the globe with 24/5 realtime support chat.

How did you get the idea to Smartly.io?
Emanuel Köchert: Our founders Kristo Ovaska and Tuomo Riekki originally met while doing other projects in the Helsinki startup scene. They had a previous startup called Metrify.io together. It was focused on customer lifetime value calculation for gaming companies, aimed at helping companies track which customer acquisition channels we’re bringing the best return on investment. They began to see that budgets were shifting to Facebook advertising (which was new at the time) and that there were bigger opportunities there.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
Our founders were able to secure some early fundings, which paved the way for focusing on finding the first customers and building the product together with them. The biggest challenges were in getting advertisers to work with us, as we didn’t have a track record in the industry, and in scaling the platform once they did become customers. Our big break came when we signed a deal with Rocket Internet and they began to move their companies’ advertising to smartly.io’s platform – this really put pressure on our product development and challenged our tech team.

Getting into the Facebook Marketing Program was also initially a challenge. Recruiting talented tech-savvy people has been and continues to be a challenge, because they’re in great demand.

Who is your target audience?
Our target audience is large and advanced online advertisers on Facebook and Instagram, or those who are on their way to becoming ones. They are very conversion and performance oriented in their online marketing and are looking for the most advanced tools to help them automate their sales funnel. For example in Germany, six out of the largest ten eCommerce players are using Smartly.io.

What is the USP of your startup?
Besides helping our clients to automate their sales funnel and make wiser decisions based on their own means of comparing the various marketing channels, we often hear that our service level, even though we are a self-serve tool, is the thing our customers appreciate the most.

Also, since we are working with some of the most advanced advertisers, we participate in Facebook betas, testing and developing new Facebook’s ads products with our clients and Facebook’s engineering teams before they are released to the public.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
A typical workday is hard to describe, as we operate in very autonomous teams in our company, which have the freedom to do what they deem most impactful for them and secondly, we must always to stay flexible to best help our clients. A typical week as an Account Manager could involve travelling to host a workshop or training with a client, recruiting, organising an industry meet-up, cooperating with our product team to implement a new feature, helping our clients in the technical support chat (which everyone, all the way to the C-level, does) and many more.

Where do you see yourself and your startup Smartly.io in five years?
Since we are very flexible with rotating employees between locations within our company, I could be working in an office on pretty much any continent by then, as I have always enjoyed working abroad. When it comes to my role, I would say it should be one where I am still outside of my comfort zone and where I have the chance to further improve my technical abilities, while working closely with customers. I really like having a diverse set of clients to work on their challenges with.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
• Be ruthless with hiring the right people and make no compromises.
• Get industry feedback for your product or service as soon as possible.
• Seek fast-changing industries, where the agile can beat the established.

More information you will find here

Thank you Emanuel Köchert the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer ist 39 Jahre jung, Gründerin und leitende Redakteurin der StartupValleyNews. Ihre Karriere startete sie in verschiedenen internationalen Direktvertriebsunternehmen. Seit 2007 ist sie hauptberuflich als Journalistin tätig. Während dieser Zeit lernte sie die Startup-Szene kennen und schätzen, was Sie dazu bewogen hat mit StartupValleyNews ein internationales Startup Magazin aufzubauen!

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