Startup marketing confession

Startup marketing confession

On one hand Israeli start-ups are alike – they are all facing similar phases. However, during our meetings with hundreds of start-ups, it seems every entrepreneur is facing tons of challenges by himself. This article is an opportunity to get into the mind and pain of one  start-up founder  each month.

Almost twice a week I find myself  needing to send photos, videos or any other heavy stuff and ending up using burned CDs or Disks on Key…   So I went to meet with Sharon Schreiber, co- founder and the CEO of the Total Availability Company of zeZebra.

Sharon is a highly qualified and very talented young lady, with an impressive background in her career, as VP Business Development at XFONE, CEO at Pillar Investments, Director of Business Development, Europe at Radlan, Regional Sales Manager, Western Europe at Radguard, Regional Sales Manager at ECI Telecom.

 And then one day she had a startup idea...     

  1. Tell me about your product, and about your company - zeZebra is a tool, which provides an extremely simple large file transfer solution. zeZebra provides total availability – enabling transfer of any file type at any size to anyone.
    zeZebra has been established by the Total Availability team, a group of internet addicted users who realized it is way too difficult to send files, any kind of files, to friends; whether costly, complicated, slow, not private, limited in size or not safe, there is no single solution which is as cool, simple and free as zeZebra. We have put together the best minds in the industry to come up with a cool product that actually works.
  2. How did your startup idea pop up? Returning from long vacation, overloaded with pictures and videos I wanted to send my family and friends overseas, made us realize there was no simple and FREE solution to transfer large media files quickly, safely and privately while maintaining high quality.  At this stage, Yaron and I came into a conclusion that consumers often face difficulties in transferring large media files to their friends.  In addition, we found out that current alternatives vary from services which require paying per transfer size to the ancient Disk-on-Key or burned CD's.  Our vision was based on the extreme growth of media content consumption, while meeting the ongoing consumers demand for simple, user friendly solutions which are truly FREE.
  3. What is the connection between your professional background and your startup idea?  I'm in the high tech community for about 20 years, including previous entrepreneurial experience.  The idea could have probably been developed at any typical user who struggled with transferring large media on the net, but I guess our in depth understanding of the internet users and our team's marketing technological backgrounds provide us with the ability to turn our vision into reality.
  4. Who is your target audience and how do you reach them? Our target audience is definitely home users around the globe, who wish to send media, whether pictures, videos or music to their family and friends, simply, privately and for free.  We also realized that there is a 'professional' audience, such as photographers, who tend to face this need more often than home users, and thus may become 'early adopters' of our solution, and a source of virality.
  5. What Gaia's market strategy process added to your company?   Gaia's team has helped us to analyze the market, crystallize our positioning and clarify our vision.  With Gaia's assistance we now understand how we can redefine the market and create product leadership.
  6. At what stage is your product right now? We have launched our beta a couple of months ago which supports Windows 7, XP and Vista and will shortly launch MAC version.  We plan plenty of surprises down the road including supporting iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices, in order to provide total availability of any media type and size on any device.
  7. What are the main marketing activities around the launching of your product? zeZebra is a viral product in nature so clearly, the best marketing activity is improving our UI consistently.  A friendly, simple user interface as well as free and reliable solution which meets a real and strong demand are the best catalysts for virality.  In addition we will put significant efforts in creating brand awareness through blogs, product reviews etc.
  8. What is the biggest challenge since the beginning of the startup? We seem to have far more plans than resources and it is an endless battle to meet time table, release great products and eventually – lead the market.
  9. What is the biggest success since the beginning of the startup? Putting in place the dream team we have.
  10. What is your dream about your company? Become a world leading solution for free media transfer while providing total availability from any device.

 

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5 Responses

  1. Gil Sadis
    Nice post and great initiative to interview one founder per month. The thing that was missing for me as a reader is what's zeZebra's business model. How do they plan to monetize their users. I'm asking because if this initiative was made so that other startups will learn from, then some hard questions (that might be relevant for a lot of young startups) should be asked. Thanks.
    • Sharon
      Hi Gil, Many thanks for your comment! . The questions you raised are important, and we passed them to Sharon Shraiber (Zezebra's CEO(. We'll be happy to publish her answer. Also, We'll be happy to get to know your start-up and share ideas. Best, Sharon Sharon@gaia-vsm.com
  2. Ami
    Nice list. Looks like you are focusing on the personal attributes. Which are nice for venture capital investors, but it may not be enough for the actual start-up. Seems like many start-ups either take on a problem that is too hard to solve (the product does not work well enough, the sales cycle is too long or hard, it's hard to explain benefits...) or they are not prepared for the big step of the market, competitors, customers... business outside the company. It would be nice to see examples of good and bad case studies in Israeli companies beyond the entrepreneur's phase. Otherwise, good advice to most start-up managers!
  3. Haim
    1st time here. Great post. It reminds me 'Founder at work' which is a must read for any 1st time entrepreneur as it goes through the 1st steps of successful startups. What is hard to do in a book, but can be done in a website is a list of advices different entrepreneurs gave on the same subject (e.g. funding strategy), as usually we are challenged with specific problems. Thanks.
  4. Haim
    1st time here. Great post. It reminds me 'Founder at work' which is a must read for any 1st time entrepreneur as it goes through the 1st steps of successful startups. What is hard to do in a book, but can be done in a website is a list of advices different entrepreneurs gave on the same subject (e.g. funding strategy), as usually we are challenged with specific problems. Thanks, Haim.

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