Farrelly-Caizzone & Associates had the honour to interview Mapendo, a startup specialized in managing user acquisition campaigns for mobile applications on IOS and Android. Discover more about this startup in our interview!
Mapendo is artificial intelligence startup with the goal to analyze user activity on smartphones and, with the information obtained, optimizes the advertising of client companies on these devices.
The startup was founded by Lorenzo Viscanti and Marco Marchini and it operates almost exclusively abroad with English, German, American and Latin American e-commerce operators.
Every day Mapendo optimizes smartphone advertising in over one hundred countries around the world, using proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms to increase e-commerce sales through advertising.
Mapendo reaches over 500 million people a month, offering maximum security to apps promoted through the platform.
They started from Bologna, but operational from the first year on a global scale with over 99% of turnover achieved abroad.
Do you want to know Mapendo and what are its objectives? So, read now our interview!
Questions For Mapendo
- Hi, thanks for taking some time off your schedule for this interview. Could you briefly explain to us which services your company offers and what your business model is?
- How did the idea of your business come out?
- How was the field of artificial intelligence when you started your business and how has it changed during the years?
- The field of Mobile apps is heterogeneous and is constantly changing. What does it mean to operate in such a broad sector?
- What kind of technologies do you offer to your clients? What are the core competencies of your solution?
- Mapendo’s team is composed of people that come from different working backgrounds: how can this help your business to succeed?
- With your business you try to reach a global audience: what are the markets you are currently active in?
- The headquarters of Mapendo are in Bologna. But you also expanded in London, Singapore and San Francisco: how did the expansion process in these markets take place?
- Mapendo’s A.I. collects a lot of user data: how do you deal with the large amount of laws protecting user data?
- What was your fundraising strategy and what is your current one?
- How will Mapendo continue to evolve? What are the main plans and projects for the future?
#1. Hi, thanks for taking some time off your schedule for this interview. Could you briefly explain to us which services your company offers and what your business model is?
Mapendo is first and foremost a tech company. We have our proprietary technology called Jenga, an A.I. that optimizes advertising campaigns for mobile apps. Our software buys videos & banners on mobile apps and sites to bring new users to our clients.
Also, we are a “pay-per-performance” company, so we receive a fixed payout for the conversions that we generate with our ads. Even though our headquarters are in Bologna and we develop our A.I. in Italy, we mainly work with companies based in the USA & Silicon Valley.
#2. How did the idea of your business come out?
When we started thinking about our company, we had already spent some time in the advertising field, an industry where few companies – mostly Google and Facebook – have an enormous market share.
We felt the need to build something in advertising that was independent from Google & Facebook, so we built our technology and started working with US based companies because the market in the States is way bigger than in Europe.
#3. How was the field of artificial intelligence when you started your business and how has it changed during the years?
Back in 2015 everything was about big data: it was the main buzzword in the tech business. Six years ago, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning were not as popular; now, users, media and companies are getting more and more interested in A.I..
Furthermore, as users are starting to advocate for more privacy and tech companies are also going towards that direction, we believe that A.I. will be even popular in the future, as our algorithms have always been privacy friendly and will always be like that.
#4. The field of Mobile apps is heterogeneous and is constantly changing. What does it mean to operate in such a broad sector?
Throughout the years, we have seen many different industries are switching to a more “mobile first” approach. First of all it was games, then e-commerce.
Lately the investment & finance sector has been switching more and more to mobile apps and right now we’re working with some of the most important players in crypto currencies. As you probably know, during the pandemic the usage of ecommerce apps increased again.
Our technology is able to adapt to different industries, as it works on different KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). For example, when we work with e-commerce, our algorithms suggest that it is better to spend more during the week (especially on friday). With crypto currencies, we adjust the investment according to the crypto market shifts.
It’s nice to connect our technology with some data that is very specific to the client.
#5. What kind of technologies do you offer to your clients? What are the core competencies of your solution?
We offer a managed service. This means our algorithms manage the acquisition campaigns on behalf of our clients. We have a team of data scientists that supervise the algorithms and we manage the whole process. We constantly talk with our clients to meet their needs and achieve their goals.
#6. Mapendo’s team is composed of people that come from different working backgrounds: how can this help your business to succeed?
Our team is made of people from different cultural backgrounds and they have different working and education careers. We come from different parts of the world and we share our competencies to increase results and have as many different points of view as possible.
#7. With your business you try to reach a global audience: what are the markets you are currently active in?
90% of our team is based in Italy but we don’t have a single client here in Italy. The majority of our clients are in the US, mostly in California and on the East Coast. We also have some clients in Asia, where we are having great results.
#8. The headquarters of Mapendo are in Bologna. But you also expanded in London, Singapore and San Francisco: how did the expansion process in these markets take place?
We immediately started working with the United States where our first ever client was Amazon; we noticed almost immediately that there wasn’t that much market in the E.U. In the end this was probably the best decision we ever made. Then we started expanding to SouthEast Asia, a huge but very competitive market.
In some cases, Asia can even be too competitive, but the population there is so big that running campaigns in countries like India & Indonesia is very interesting. For example in Indonesia we’re running an ecommerce campaign where we generate more than 5000 ecommerce orders per minute.
Obviously, those big numbers are much harder to reach in Europe. The market is smaller, nonetheless we are working in the UK and Germany and we are seeing some great results.
#9. Mapendo’s A.I. collects a lot of user data: how do you deal with the large amount of laws protecting user data?
We were natively based on context. That means we’re not gathering any data about the users, and we’re not following users over time.
Our algorithms work with information about the context of the user, what she is doing right now, what she did and what are the patterns.
As I said before, when you don’t gather data about the user you need to have precise algorithms to make campaigns profitable but for us is a nice trade-off.
We have always been and always will be privacy friendly. Furthermore, we are a company based in the EU, so we have to comply with GDPR, which is the European Union’s law about privacy and is much stricter than the US ones.
#10. What was your fundraising strategy and what is your current one?
A few years ago we raised around $1M that we used for expanding our service commercially. Right now we’re in discussion to close another round that we’ll be used to speed up the growth.
#11. How will Mapendo continue to evolve? What are the main plans and projects for the future?
We’re obviously looking to expand our team, our business and open new offices abroad. We are also currently working with our clients to ease the transition to a more privacy oriented approach; we are supporting our clients to start advertising without collecting users personal data for advertising purposes.
We think that a healthy privacy ecosystem is the best solution for users and companies, as we have always worked to achieve results for our clients while being a privacy first company.
We want to thank Mapendo for for his time and for introduce us to his field!
If you want to stay updated on the activities of Mapendo, these are the main links:
If you liked this interview, discover more interviews with start up founders and business experts in our blog!