PromoRepublic, a Finnish startup with Ukrainian roots, has just secured €400,000 from a pool of investors from the two countries. These include Finnish business angels Sampo Parkkinen and Pekka Koskinen, startup accelerator and fund Vendep and government agency Tekes, as well as Ukrainian fund Digital Future.
An initial €100,000 capital injection from Pekka Koskinen, Vendep and Tekes took place in September 2015, PromoRepublic co-founder and CEO Max Pecherskyi told Ukraine Digital News.
Pecherskiy expects to receive further support from Tekes: “After a startup reaches a certain level of income and number of clients, it automatically receives access a €1.25 million follow-up funding to be spent on marketing and sales.”
PromoRepublic is a service that helps freelance marketers to create content for social networks. Initially positioned as an all-in-one marketing service, the startup now focuses on ‘Calendar of Content Ideas,’ a feature that helps freelance marketers create “stunning social media posts” based on holidays, trends, events and more.
“We spent one month in San Francisco, Boston and New York and understood how this market works. We saw that reaching out to small businesses directly is very difficult, but at the same time we found a highly-developed segment of freelance marketers, so we decided to focus on this narrow segment by tailoring a product to their needs, ” said Pecherskyi.
“In the US, the segment of software for freelancers is growing by 40% a year, and there’s plenty of space for new companies in this market. We’ve already got more than a hundred paying customers from America, even though we launched there very recently,” the startup entrepreneur added.
Communication with the US customers and partners goes through a virtual office in Palo Alto.
The Finnish-Ukrainian company also aims to integrate with such large marketing services as Hootsuite, HubSpot, Buffer and others, which are already used by millions of marketers in the United States.
PromoRepublic was founded in Kiev in 2013 by serial entrepreneur Valeriy Grabko. In 2014, it established offices in Helsinki and Tallinn to build its own distribution channels in Eastern Europe, while keeping its production center in Kyiv (Kiev). Following its registration in Finland, the startup took part in Startup Sauna, which opened the way to receiving a grant from Tekes.
Early PromoRepublic investors include Ukraine’s Eastone Group, Swiss businessman David Lottenbach, Boston-based investor Semyon Dukach, Estonian investor Andrus Lauritz.
The startup’s backers can be found as far as Chile. “We enjoyed a €30,000 grant from [Chilean government agency] Start-Up Chile. This grant was offered to Valeriy when he relocated to Santiago de Chile for more than 6 months, got a residence permit there and participated in education programs for local entrepreneurs,” Pecherskyi told Ukraine Digital News.