neontools online marketing toolbox with a corresponding e-learning platform
Please introduce yourself and your startup neon marketing technology to our readers!
My name is Misch Strotz, I’m Co-Founder & CEO of neon marketing technology. As the company name implies, we build “marketing technology”. It is our goal to empower companies, creators and entrepreneurs by giving them the tools and knowledge needed so they can manage their online presences and grow their businesses successfully on their own. We have developed an online marketing toolbox called “neontools” with a corresponding e-learning platform called “neonacademy” where we offer on-demand online courses about state-of-the-art marketing, media, and business.
What is the vision behind neon marketing technology?
Our company’s tagline is “Building brands through growth marketing, technology and consulting”. Early on in our careers, my co-founders and I learned that many people are struggling with the newest technological evolutions, even when it comes to tech products they interact with every day like for example social media. Even professionals in this space often lack a fundamental understanding of how these digital platforms really work, and how they can use them in the most effective way possible.
This is where we come in, by offering easy-to-use digital tools as well as top-notch educational resources. We want neon to be a benchmark and a go-to brand when it comes to the latest insights and innovation in digital technologies. Our vision is to help people unlock their own professional potential by making the opportunities the internet offers accessible. That’s why we additionally offer a lot of useful content for free. For example, we run a highly editorial blog where we share lots of field-tested knowledge and insights. We also provide an archive of useful third-party tools, send out a monthly newsletter, and much more.
What is your main focus?
Our main goal right now is the expansion of the neontools platform. It is our technology for the Creator Economy, which already represents about 50 million people worldwide today. A number that is constantly growing with the emergence of new digital platforms and opportunities. Over the coming months we plan to add many helpful features to the application and thus contribute our part to a more effective economy of the future.
What exactly is neontools?
Right now, neontools is a free 8-in-1 online marketing toolbox that bundles some of the handiest and most needed tools when running a business online. Our tools have different levels of complexity – the simplest being a QR Code Generator and the most complex being a micro-website creation tool called neon.page that allows you to publish a simplified micro website in mere seconds.We also have a URL Shortener which includes clicks tracking, a Social Audit Tool to analyze Instagram accounts, a Hashtag Analyzer to find the best hashtags, and much more.
What do neontools offer that other products don’t?
Through combining all these tools into one platform, we help our customers to save time, energy and money because they don’t need to switch between and pay for a multitude of different tools. Our company infrastructure allows us to be extremely competitive in terms of pricing, which is why we’re currently offering all the main features entirely for free. This gives us a big advantage, especially with younger audiences or startups. For our users, neontools has the big advantage that they can easily combine all of our offered features with one another. So in the end, the result is greater than the sheer sum of its parts.
What were your biggest challenges when developing such a software product in Luxembourg?
The very first version of the neontools was entirely coded and managed by me. But in order to expand, you need more than just one person. Thanks to successfully growing our agency business, we were able to invest into hiring a team of developers without having to raise further funding. With this additional manpower, we managed to rebuild our technology and scale the neontools platform in the past six months to bring it up to the level of way bigger international competitors.
In this regard, it is important to mention that we have practiced the “work from anywhere” philosophy at Neon Marketing Technology from Day 1 – even way before the COVID-19 pandemic started. We don’t have a fixed office, our team is spread all across Europe and free to choose where to work from. With this mindset, it was possible to overcome the challenge of hiring the best talent we could find and build a great platform – even from a small country like Luxembourg or anywhere else.
For our user base, it doesn’t make a difference. Although, for example, most of our neontools users are based in the US, we also have plenty of them in the UK, Australia, and Africa – all spread across different time zones. In the end, the “where” doesn’t really matter to us. It is much more about the “why”, “how”, and “who”. We’re just trying to build a great product that is useful to anyone anywhere in the world.
How do you build a bootstrapped startup? What are your biggest learnings?
For me personally, the most difficult part was letting go of my baby (my codebase) and outgrowing my micro-management obsessions. For example, when we teamed up with our new CTO, Carlos Gonser, we took the decision to rebuild the entire platform from scratch in order to improve scalability potential. However, I had invested a lot of time into building an excellent platform already. So I had to let go of what I knew, put my own feelings aside, and take the best decision for our business.
The same goes for our agency. Back in the days, I was very attached to every single project, but once the workload increased, we needed to find talented people fast to help us in managing the new situation. As a creative person, I tend to get lost in the details, but that’s something you have to let go of if you want to scale rapidly.
Where do you see neontols and your company as a whole in the next five years? What are your expansion plans?
Our next step for neontools is to grow the platform to 1 Million signups and 50’000 daily active users. We have defined our strategy for the future, which features we need to add next and where we want to get at with the platform. This is only the beginning. We set up the foundation to continuously build and add more useful features for our users. In terms of expansion and growth we might recruit a small Sales team soon and hire more people outside of Europe to help us expand more effectively.
Personally, I am passionate about Web3 and blockchain technologies. So we will definitely push more into this direction as well and have a first product in development as well.
What 3 tips would you give to founders? Especially to the ones who, just like you, would like to launch a startup outside of the biggest European cities?
#1 “If you don’t make stuff, there is no stuff.” (Elon Musk)
Today, you can learn everything on the internet, and there is no excuse not to learn something if you really want to do it.
#2: “Hell is when the person you became meets the person you could have become.” (Anonymous)
For people in richer countries, like Luxembourg, it might be hard to choose between a secure job and a risky path as an entrepreneur, but in the end I believe it always comes down to your willingness to learn. You can choose a repetitive, secure life over a life full of self-reflection and personal growth – but then you will have to live your life knowing that you’ve never tried to achieve something great on your own. I might be too young to judge this but I feel like it would be very painful to realise late in life that you’ve wasted your potential.
#3: Don’t let your parents or anybody else tell you what you should or should not do in life.
Picture Credits: Lynn Theisen
Thank you Misch Strotz for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.