Can you give me a bit of background to yourself?
Born and raised in Latvia, I came to the UK in 2005 after completing my degree in Hotel and Business Management.
There were not many jobs in Latvia and I wanted to improve my English, shortly after arriving in the UK I created my first online community, through that I was introduced to the world of Internet marketing.
I promoted many products online through lots of different affiliate networks, however I spent most of my time promoting MoreNiche, I really liked how they supported affiliates.
My passion also became my career when I joined MoreNiche in 2007 as a junior affiliate manager. Since then I have worked hard and continually been promoted through the company. In 2013 we agreed that I would become Managing Director of Paydot, a new affiliate network with a Twist.
What is your startup?
Paydot is a multi-niche affiliate network that is completely free of charge. Clients join, setup their campaigns and reach out to our network of affiliates without spending a penny.
Once our affiliates generate sales for the client, they then pay a commission. This 100% performance based business model plugs the gap left by the large affiliate networks that often charge thousands for simply registering on their platform.
Paydot went live in Beta phase in 2013 and we have constantly been developing the platform ever since. We been growing organically since we started and today have a large list of many different types of successful programmes on the network.
With over 150 clients and tens of thousands of affiliates, the network is growing at an impressive rate.
What was the inspiration behind it?
Being involved in affiliate marketing for many years, both as an affiliate and affiliate manager, I would often hear horror stories of merchants spending thousands and not generating a single sale. On top of this affiliates would complain about the lack of support from the larger networks.
Working for MoreNiche for a number of years whose core value was affiliate support, I thought that I could do better.
Affiliate networks have always been promoted themselves as a performance based marketing model, but with huge setup fees and large monthly fees this is simply not the case.
This might be acceptable for large retailers but it’s a massive barrier for SME type businesses.
How have you funded it so far?
Through my hard work at MoreNiche I was offered the opportunity to run my own project. The owner was keen to diversify and saw how motivated I was to innovate and progress.
We structured a deal where I would become the managing director of Paydot and handle all aspects of this company. In return I would become co-owner and receive the financial support required to take this project to market.
When looking at my path forward there were multiple other options on the table, many of them were a lot more appealing with stronger short-term benefits. However I always tend to have the long-term vision in mind, I felt that Paydot, a project that will take longer to become profitable, is exactly what I should be focussing on.
What has been the biggest challenge in starting your business?
I would say technical development. Although most of the core code-base already existed, Paydot is a very different platform with completely different concept. For the business model to be successful the whole system needs to be as automated as possible.
Our core vision with Paydot is to make affiliate marketing accessible to everybody, no matter how small or established your brand is, whilst making sure that advertisers, publishers and soon to be partners have all the necessary tools and resources to work with one another.
Results are important and even though Paydot does have a large base of publishers, which ultimately helps new advertisers, there are advertisers that need the extra push. So we can’t just rely on what advertisers do themselves, we need to continuously invest in on-going external publisher reach.
How have you (or, how do you plan to) overcome this challenge?
Paydot’s turnover in 2014 was almost £1.5 million, up by 2405% over the previous financial year. 2015 has started exceptionally well and we’re on course to double what we did last year.
As mentioned previously our mind-set is long-term. We will continue to reinvest all profits to support growth. We have only touched the surface and there is so much potential.
Over the next couple of years we will continue to invest in our technology, our publisher base and ensure we have the foundations for long-term success.
What have been your biggest milestones/achievements since you launched your business?
I would say launching JAC Vapour has been one of our biggest milestones as it validates our business model. This was an advertiser who was managing an in-house affiliate network, from past experience I know how much work this is.
JAC Vapour’s core business is e-commerce and so running their in-house affiliate network was detracting from that. By partnering with Paydot the advertiser has managed to delegate this part of their business allowing them to focus on their core operations.
As a result their affiliate sales have grown very successfully and Paydot has introduced many new affiliates to their campaign. The campaign generates hundreds of sales daily and works for both the advertiser and publishers.
How do you differentiate from the competition?
We are not just an affiliate network, we also have an active affiliate community (Twist360) which provides training, forum, news, rewards and annual events. This helps Paydot connect affiliates/publishers with new advertisers.
Our partner program, which is due to go live in early 2015, will be an industry first. This is an automated advertiser referral program, allowing individual people and agencies to refer new advertisers to Paydot. In return, earn a lifetime commission from any sales the advertisers generates through Paydot.
What advice would you give any entrepreneurs just starting out?
Follow your passion, I managed to turn my hobby into a business. As a result, I don’t mind putting in the long hours and hard work required to make it work.
Hard work has been the key to my success, creating opportunities, which would otherwise never been available. Even if you work for somebody else, show your entrepreneurial spirit and take on new challenges.
As a business owner you do have to take risks, if you have a brilliant idea but unsure how to execute it, pitch your ideas to investors or possible partners.
Thanks Vairo Kremanis
To learn more about Paydot: www.paydot.com