Today's Entrepreneur: Anji ISMAIL

Kristin Karaoglu · September 12, 2011 · Short URL:

No. 1 mistake: Focusing on the idea and not on the business

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Today's Entrepreneur is Anji Ismail, CEO and Founder of Capseo.

According to his VEQ Anji is a thought leader and is good at team motivation and sales management.

You are a(n):

Name companies you've founded or co-founded:

If you are an entrepreneur, why?
I want to change the world.

List your favorite startups:
Fab, Square, Qwiki, Twitter, Mailchimp, Capseo :-)

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

Frustrating :
days only have 26 hours... I mean 24 !

Rewarding :
clients saying that the service is great
employees saying the boss is great

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?

In fact there are two N°1 mistake to me :
1. Focusing to much on the idea and not at all on the business model beside it
2. Mixing up friendship and associates

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

Execution is the key
Focus on satisfying clients
Make cash, then improve the product

What entrepreneurs do you most admire and why?

Steve Jobs
he is a guru, a visionary, a tyrant.
everything he touches almost go into gold
he is both an engineer and a great salesman
moreover he is one of the best showman ever seen
he is one perfect team in one person

What do people misunderstand about being an entrepreneur?

1. That being an entrepreneur is not being unemployed
2. That being an entrepreneur is a choice
3. That being an entrepreneur is not working without rules
4. That taking risk is cool
5. That not having holidays, high wage, 9 to 5 and the big package is a shame
6. That entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs to be early retired :-)

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Kristin Karaoglu

Woman of many skills: Database System Engineer; SplashX event producer; Author of Startup Teams

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Capseo was part of the Plug and Play Tech Center Startup Camp 2011

Problem :

Any website needs to be visible to reach a qualified audience. It is hard to find the perfect solution, on one hand Webmarketing Agencies are not international and not multi-channel. They are not reactive and not scalable. On the other hand, Market Places are not secured, finding the right available skills is a nightmare, and freelancers are waiting for projects in vain.

Below are some issues that you may encounter on marketplaces if you are looking for freelancers :

  • Finding skills: how can I be sure that this person has the right skills?
  • Security: how do I secure the payments, copyrights and confidentiality?
  • Cultural misunderstanding: Does my freelancer mean yes or no?
  • Time difference: why should I be awake at 4 AM to have a meeting?
  • Project Management: I outsource the job, why would I end up managing?

... And if you are a freelancer :

  • Sales: I am not a salesman, why do I have to sell my skills?
  • Skills required: why should I do tasks I cannot handle?
  • Security: how can I be sure that I will receive my payments?
  • Rating system: how someone who is not an expert able to rate it my work?
  • Delay: I want to work only when I have enough time to complete the work.

Solution :

Capseo is able to determine the weaknesses of a website, finding out what has to be done and who are the best people to do it.

For each campaign, Capseo sets up a unique team of influencers to promote brands, products and services all over the web without any advertising or consulting. Those influencers are chosen regarding their abilities to achieve tasks, their social graph and expertise (SEO, Social Media, Blogs, Forums etc.).They can manage their assignments and earnings on their interface.

Clients pay on a Price Per Visitor basis and can monitor the campaign through a dedicated platform (stats, invoices, report etc.). Clients don't have to care about paying or managing freelancers and have no direct relation with them.

Market Opportunity :

  • Search Engine Marketing world expenses by 2015 : $51B
  • Social Media Optimization world expenses by 2013 : $5B

Firms are having more propensity (+40 % in 2010) to spend on SEO since prices for Search Advertizing are saturating. Social Media Optimization is the fastest growing  budget due to the significant expansion of Social Networks : +400% for viral marketing in 2010.

Marketplaces such as Odesk, Freelancer etc. are having an increasing number of registered workers, however the percentage of those who activelly work is not growing up. 

Milestones :

  • + $350K in 16 months
  • + 80 clients (e.g : Kaspersky, Axa, Renault)
  • 10 agencies partnership (e.g : Publicis)
  • + 1400 "ready to work" influencers


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