Sramana Mitra: The company didn’t work out.
Reed Berglund: The company didn’t work out. We were ahead of the market. That’s one of the great lessons in my career. We were also trying to change buying behavior in a highly entrenched industry.
Sramana Mitra: What happened next?
Reed Berglund: We spun out of that company. One of the partners from that company was a global free-to-play gaming company called Miniclip. It was number one at that time. We launched it in the US to handle all of the sales, marketing, and licensing for Miniclip. From 2009 to 2013, I ran all of the monetization for Miniclip in the US. That brings us up to FullBottle, which was launched in June 2013.
Sramana Mitra: What was the concept with which you started FullBottle?
Reed Berglund: Under Miniclip, we’ve been in the gaming world for a long time. We’re starting to see a lot of players recording their gameplay to create new viral concepts that would be featured on YouTube. This is before many of the big creators had taken off. We started working with these influencers on these platforms and make them more integral to the game experience and also selling advertising in and around those games. FullBottle really started from that.
We were seeing how much influencers were commanding an audience and how word-of-mouth marketing was effective from an advertising standpoint. Problem is, operationally, it was an absolute nightmare. It was a nightmare to find them, contact them, and to actually get them working because in many cases, they’re not sophisticated. They’re doing a lot of this as a hobby. Part of the problem was also handling all of the back-end in terms of reporting and remuneration. If we’re going to scale this business, there has to be a way to automate this. We wanted FullBottle to be a fully-liquid influencer marketplace for platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Vine.
Sramana Mitra: Is there a domain that you particularly focus on or is it influencers across domain and you have the marketplace categorized by domain?
Reed Berglund: The domain that we focus on is short-form videos. Specifically, the six-second videos of Vine. We’ve also moved into pictures.
Sramana Mitra: Are these influencers in the domain of gaming or business?
Reed Berglund: They run the gamut. There’s no particular domain. What we built is a discovery engine that allows us to source influencers based on their request. We haven’t moved in to business. It does allow us to source based on various verticals on entertainment and products that are being featured and talked about.