Author: Angélica Medina
Innubu:  Get real-time customer insights from your brand’s Facebook community
Social media is a powerful tool to know the places people go, their opinions, thoughts, things they are intereste d in. It is also a channel for raising awareness, to monitor brands, to protect reputation and persuade.
One of the most successful social networks is Facebook. Today, there are over 1.2 billion Facebook users and 699 million are daily active users. For that reason, it is a huge potential channel to marketing products and to get insights from customers.
The founders of Innubu  have developed an app that brands with social media presence can use to find out, in real time, what their customers actually need and want by leveraging their Facebook community.
Join me to learn more about this useful tool. The Co-founders of Innubu, Eduardo Huarte and David Burgos, share their experience as entrepreneurs with us.
Where did you get the idea to develop Innubu?
As an Industrial designer, I (Eduardo Huarte) worked on product design and marketing. One of the experiences that I had was a failed project developing a product that didn’t reach the sales goal. As a result, the company performed a root-cause analysis asking to customers the reason why did not buy the product. We found out three important facts: first, women didn’t like the product. It was a baby stroller inspired by downhill mountainbikes, so women believed its design was too aggressive. Second, because women didn’t like it, the couple didn’t buy it. The woman made the purchasing decision in 100% of the cases. And third, they both (man and woman) believed it was a too expensive.
In the next project I had an idea. I convinced the owner of the company to let me cherry-pick fans of the brand on Facebook to show them our design and development process. He accepted. We began to show fans sketches of our ideas and they told us which of the designs they liked the most. We also showed them 3D renders with different material and color schemes. Names, packaging, logos… They voted every single stage of the product development process. Nowadays, that baby stroller is the best selling stroller of the company. This is how we got the idea.
How long have you been working on this idea?
Eduardo wrote me (David Burgos) and email because he saw my professional profile on Betabeers website. We met several times, had lunch and discuss the project deeply. We decided we were partners in April 2012, however, Eduardo was doing his MBA and I was working in another company so we could not dedicate as much time as we wanted to until December 2012. When we began to work full time as partners:
- Eduardo, CEO & Co-founder, is responsible for Design, Operations & Marketing.
- David, CTO & Co-founder, leads Product Development & Technology.
The enterprise was formally registered in January 2013.
How does Innubu work?
Innubu offers a complete service that allows brands to identify the most loyal and influential fans with just one click, and ask them questions about new product concepts, new packaging, new logos, names… and whatever they want. We have developed survey templates so that brands can ask about anything, from customer satisfaction to website ease of navigation, and everything in between.
By leveraging personal data users post on Facebook, Innubu turns opinions into detailed insights that brands can use to achieve a thorough understanding of the customer and consumer, in real time. In addition to personal data from Facebook, thanks to a patent-pending system, brands can identify customers among their fans as well as obtain valuable additional information, such as income level, education level, type of work … Etc
Innubu also gives advice to brands about how to reward fans to collect insights in order to promote social loyalty. Thank to a gamification system, they can reward their fans with gifts, coupons and discounts.
What is Innubu business model?
We just launched the public beta. Now, you can use Innubu for free but in the future we are thinking about a subscription model.
We are also evaluating a revenue model per volume for social media agencies.
What kinds of investors does the company have?
Today, the project is self-financing. We set some goals for the public beta; if we achieve those goals we will look for seed funding.
What are those goals?
We want to achieve a 10% signup conversion rate and 10%-15% retention rate. In other words, 10 people out of 100 website visits would signup and 10%-15% of them would use the tool regularly. These are our hypotheses. We believe we are in the right path: until the previous day to the beta launch we had a 2,5% signup conversion rate and just in the first day we improved it by 2 points, to 4,5%. So, if we fine-tune our campaigns properly, we believe we can achieve those goals. But who knows! You know the say, “don’t sell the skin till you have caught the bear”. Step by step.
In your opinion, what is most important: the market, the product, or the team?
We have the right product and the right team, but I am concerned about the market.
We believe is necessary to define a niche. We are going to clarify what niche during the public beta.
We are now targeting the UK and US markets.
What are the most excited about the project at the moment?
Meetings with brands, the positive feedback obtained from them and the receptivity to the tool. Nevertheless, at the same time, it is being hard for us making them use the tool in a daily basis. We strongly believe this happens because we have not identified Innubu’s early adopters yet. That is why we are targeting the UK and US market through marketing and PR campaigns, to attract users who feel appealed by our value proposition.
So far, we have been working with friends and personal contacts from brands to test the tool. We believe this is a big mistake because they are not the “real” market. Sooner or later you have to face the real market and they might not think the same as your friends and contacts.
What are the most difficult of entrepreneurship?
There are ups and downs. But you should be resilient, being able to learn from mistakes and be open to criticism, get up and move forward with enthusiasm.
Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you had the chance?
We spent too much time making contact with huge brands, friends, and close personal and professional network.
This made us waste a lot of time, because as we said, it’s been a hard time to make them use the tool in a daily basis and that is a proof that they are not our early adopters. We should have launched our public beta 5 or 6 months ago.
What advice would you like to give to potential entrepreneurs?
You should be patient and persistent.
Select cautiously your partners and member of the team. You should use a magnifying glass.
We believe the right team is essential. It must be multidisciplinary. Leave your comfort zone and do not seek from close friends’ network. Go to conferences, events and look for the profile you are seeking. I (Eduardo) went to a BetaBeers event; searched on its website looking for professional profiles that Innubu needed and I finally met David, who is a perfect match to the project.
Finally, be very careful with to whom you listen to. Friends, mentors and peers are great but remember, they might not be your ideal customer/user. If you listen to too many people you might lose your focus. Listen to the market, to the ones who are willing to pay/use your product.