Recently, I had the chance to chat with Ethan Bloch, the creator and CEO of Flowtown, which just raised $750,000 in seed funding, and asked him a few questions about the start up and how exactly it would work for the budding entrepreneur.
KG: Why did you design Flowtowns around existing customers and not around the idea of attracting new ones?
Ethan: Almost all businesses have customer lists, the thing is they're preforming old school marketing on it, or it's just sitting there collecting dust.. your customer list is in many cases are your most valuable asset. Additionally, many business are getting started with social networking, so showing them what networks existing customers are on and they helping them bridge that social connection is very valuable.
KG: What type of business do you see as your end users? Larger or smaller companies? Is there any industry specifically that you want to work with?
Ethan: Small businesses, which is pretty general. We believe almost all will eventually get value out of using Flowtown for their specific vertical/space/industry. Today, it is largely SMBs that generate 50% or more of their leads / sales through the web. Companies like Market Places, SaaS products, Ecommerce, Publishers, iPod/iPad app developers.
KG: What kind of results have you shown for clients so far?
Ethan: If a customer has previously sent email, we help them lift open/conversion rates 2-3x by enabling them to send more targeted email. If they're getting started in social media, we help them quickly get fans and followers
KG: I saw that you have a wide range in pricing. What are the major differences between the plans? Specifically the 97$ a month and 197$ a month plans?
Ethan: Currently it's the amount of email you can send per month and a few other small additions.
KG: Do you foresee your product creating an personal data security issues for your clients? After all, I would bet a number of people on those email lists did not give permission for their social networking profiles to be searched.
Ethan: This is a great questions and one we take super seriously. We only index and show public information, the same data you could get by searching Google for your name We only allow people to use our service with opt-in email lists / customers lists and we are extremely vigilant against anyone using Flowtown for spam.
KG: So, if a customer has their profiles set to private it won't return much data on them? And, how much of this data about individuals does Flowtown keep?
Ethan: Correct. And, If a customer imports contacts we have data on it stored in their account which is on our system.
KG: But you don't review results for statistical data? Number of users with profiles on specific sites, ect...?
KG: Thank you, Ethan.