Constantine Nikitiadis is the co-founder of rocketgraph.com. Rocketgraph is an analytics marketplace for cloud-based applications and provides ready-to-use reports & dashboards. Before founding Rocketgraph, Constantine ran a digital marketing agency. We chat with him to understand how a marketplace approach to analytics can help consolidate reporting needs of SMBs at a fraction of the cost.

Nov 3, 2016

With increasing adoption of cloud-based services, there is a growing data fragmentation problem. The problem is particularly severe for small businesses & startups which rely on SaaS (Software-as-a-service) applications. Many organizations attempt to build custom reports and database solutions. Unlike the vibrant open-source culture for application code, the analytics world suffers from a lack of reusable reports. Even in 2016, an open source solution is not on the horizon. Part of the reason is custom rules embedded in the business processes. Can analytics marketplace be an intermediate solution? The founders of Rocketgraph think so.

In this interview you will learn:

  • How Constantine & his co-founder Dino Paravandis transitioned from services business to a SaaS product.
  • How one Instagram analytics report sowed the seeds of Rocketgraph.
  • Challenges of raising funds in Greece.  Greece does not have a well-established venture capital industry. How did they raise $500k in these unfavorable conditions?
  • How they convinced developers to join their marketplace?
  • How & why they simplified their pricing strategy?
  • What they learned from building a report for Fitbit activity?

Resources

Rocketgraph

@cnikitiadis Constantine on Twitter

Please use coupon code VIZUALLY to receive 20% at Rocketgraph. ( Disclosure: I do not receive any commission on this )

Full Transcript (Google Speech API)

[00:00:24] Dev:
Hello everybody a technology industry has disappeared and democratize some businesses which only a decade ago would have been thought impossible,
Airbnb disappear lodging in hotel industry what has disrupted the taxi industry one key thing that has helped is disruptors continue to grow their businesses is the worst amount of data to gather and analyze to make their products and services better for the consumer,
however finding the sophisticated technology is still the most expensive and time-consuming and many small businesses and you started screaming at a competitive disadvantage,
which is why I’m very excited to talk with Constantine the cookie ideas,
Constantine drinks rocket proof.com with his school founder the best out of Athens Greece rocket graph is an analytics Marketplace that provides access to a variety of cloud-based data sources in a ready to use,
interactive format what’s his rocket grab a part is that the company provides a platform for developers create reports,
many businesses have unique business tools.
Definitions and Rocket cross platform allows subject matter experts to provide you the analytics and insights that is both irrelevant and action it was to your specific situation.
With that I would like to welcome our guests Constantine the guitarist hello Constantine how are you doing.

[00:01:42] Constantine:
I’ve been a member well thank you.

[00:01:45] Dev:
Something up before we get started can you tell us little bit about your personal background and maybe you know any pasta Venture surprise rocket go and how rocket car for starting.

[00:02:01] Constantine:
Thought first of all my background is in the computer science and micro founder starting.
Human computer interaction so we were both white we met working on another startup.
And that at some point we decided to start our own digital agency.
I once was when was very well we had them.
A large number of clients and one of the things that was very frustrating and time-consuming I was I was reporting,
so
We started creating our own we thought it was started researching the market and if you noticed many services like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram login.
Offer reporting or analytics from from day one.
What day did offer was an API and anybody could do with some development skills could actually pull their data.
And then analyze them and visualize in any way that they wanted but that’s something that only.
If shoe companies are people can actually do,
it’s not for small businesses or or marketeers and it’s a,
and then there were some third-party third parties have offered their services for analytics for the social media or web services,
first of all most of them they focused only on one service for example Instagram,
they were all over the place they have different look and feels they are not as different kti’s founder of,
Amber we found them very expensive for at least for the account that we had,
police auction business companies right now with having survived that don’t exist anymore so we can create our own software,
Home Solution for Facebook and Instagram Analytics,
it took us around one week to create a service like that.

[00:04:48] Dev:
So what was the what was this first service what did it do.

[00:04:54] Constantine:
So we were running up.
A campaign for a large settlement in telecommunication company in in Greece on Instagram and we needed reporting.
As you know Instagram only recently released their statistics of the reporting so.
Result of research online to see what was available and it was a company.
Which was a starting another one very sad words on Startup events at cetera.
I’m talking a little funding over the reporting solution they charge.
If I remember correctly around $1,000 per month in order to show a basic day that I know was it wasn’t something that.
What you really mean that it was just enough for a marketing manager for example.
See how old is a Instagram account with the company’s Instagram account was performing.
We actually replicated love which was in the courtroom to hear.
What if,
lots of other developers like us wanted to create such a report but they didn’t know where to sell it that would be nice let’s a income for them,
but no developers they should focus on what they do best you know and data analyst and then then designers,
butt,
they’re not like internet marketers are experts in selling online thought there so we wanted to create,
a place where they would post their work and we will sell it for them,
so that’s how they come to the market place to get started.

[00:07:17] Dev:
Thought so thought I’d let you know just to recap so you already had a digital agency you already have some plans.
And you know how I’m going to be just before you started like you know can you give us a sense of how big was that agency in terms of number of clients being manager of the number of employees.

[00:07:36] Constantine:
When we were 16 people we have around 40 clients brands.
You can understand everything everybody wanted that reporting at least once a month.
Thought process was Wednesday usually took a few days for for the account manager to create the report which was.
Parkour.

[00:08:04] Dev:
Your company was also doing social media marketing for this Branch not just reporting right.

[00:08:10] Constantine:
Exactly exactly so the poor thing was for them to see how their social media presence was performing and how their campaigns were performing.
Are there websites eCommerce sites.

[00:08:27] Dev:
Google Analytics okay so and when you download the original version of you know you already had some of those clients you know maybe as potential customers right.

[00:08:38] Constantine:
Exactly the same but we also have other agencies that were using it.

[00:08:45] Dev:
Okay okay,
okay so so what what was the end result of that initial you know selling the two initial clients you know did you know did you get more demon did you try to develop it further or you know what happened after that.

[00:09:02] Constantine:
So in the beginning we were creating all the reports so the infrastructure wasn’t there we couldn’t support and third-party report.
Without having to third-party give us their social skills so we wouldn’t want to do that with you want to do that so after we secured our seat funding,
we we actually went full-time with Rock and grass we created The A Team.
I’m started the building at the marketplace.
Love means that we started from scratch we just we designed a new.
Website and I’m started writing the whole thing from the beginning so that we could have third parties come and upload there.
30 quarts.

[00:10:05] Dev:
What’s up for tonight I guess the key thing is here you got funded today love you know your idea so was that a hard sell to investor so you know was that somebody in your network already you know who,
what kind of so believe in the potential of the idea.

[00:10:21] Constantine:
Well yes I mean that we were in there later I don’t think that investors.
Usually investing in people that they just know,
Mets will usually like to follow your progress and see how old is the way you work and you’re thinking and.
Thought at least from my experience so.
Yeah we were in there right now it wasn’t easy.
Look in your basement there’s not much there are many startups here I mean there are like but it’s lovely.
In other parts of the world like London or Berlin or the Bay Area or New York.
Thought so I think the key the key to the funding because of the experience.
Hunting clubs slugs for some reason.

[00:11:44] Dev:
The okay so you you don’t you’ll get the funding you there love you know like your platform of the marketplace and how you know how long that takes in a building this new TracFone.

[00:11:56] Constantine:
Dr. Castro 9 months.
It was it was long because we were here too to get his life and to start selling butter.
But it was it was it was like a month so we will launch the new website.
In November and November 2015.

[00:12:27] Dev:
Okay just to just about a year ago right,
what happened since lunch what did you discover in all of you know like what’s up with the day only person on board was there some resistance and when you know you know you know like maybe pricing strategy what happened since lunch.

[00:12:47] Constantine:
Good questions yes we face that all of these issues.
So in the beginning we had to to find the developer is like.
One by one experienced developers that selling another marketplaces who look like that in fact the marketplace is I don’t know if you’re familiar with them.

[00:13:15] Dev:
Yes yes I.

[00:13:15] Constantine:
It would apply to as they love the concept.
But it’s too early for them they wanted to see each other maybe their competitors or others making lots of money before before them investing,
in records grass and that’s that’s our number one selling sex you.
Another word for developers to to to be killing two to join us,
there must be a lot of action so we we started trying to talk about and find ways to.
To attract developers so one way was to start doing them.
Some conference is like a training with c.
So that we we educate the people on how are thought from work and then how easy it would be in the tools that we provide.
So educate them and the other thing that we did was we are on the heck of Thrones.
Where we would find the,
you know either experience that developers are students.
Do you know developed the reports and some of them were actually really good then remember where you left them on the market place because it’s too early we would be,
we don’t we don’t approve everything so yeah.

[00:15:06] Dev:
So are you saying are you saying that are you saying that funding download first was so you know who are willing to you know.
I joined the marketplace was a bigger challenge than finding customers were willing to pay.

[00:15:23] Constantine:
Well that’s good tell him to the marketplace you know you need to work on both sides and it’s going to take a little effort,
in order for you to start you know when rolling.
But they remain our main targets was Developers.
Thought we were more more customers coming in while I was more content for them more and more products,
thought that was our our our first day go.
One thing that was changed and it made things much easier is our pricing so in the beginning.
We would then allow developers to choose the price for the report.
So if you wanted to sell it for $10 with A4 month or 100 or $1,000 or whatever that you could,
but that was confusing some people were charging $2 or three or.
If one wanted to many reports it wasn’t convenient,
so what changed and now it was changed recently,
getting the summer and now we just have plans different pricing plans so,
if anybody first of all can you can have a few reports the one for one of their social media for example,
and then we have to start their plan which has three reports and then the professional which has unlimited reports,
this is this is the least most of our clients loved it it made things easier and it’s so much easier sell.

[00:17:45] Dev:
So what’s up tell me tell me some of the things that you also had to run to the window for customer service at least the new customers that and that may not be familiar with this concert.
You know what what specific things you know are you doing to acquire them.

[00:18:04] Constantine:
Okay um so in the beginning with tried a little bit of everything that.
If you see you never business you know they say you have a big list of those would work for us.
Erin Andrews quite it wasn’t it was free was content and what I mean that is we started creating reports.
That would bring in people come to check check them out and then,
which one a more General topics so we would create.
A sentiment analysis for Twitter.
And we will analyze and I don’t know the politicians Twitter account or we will compare two different locations for example Trump vs Clinton.
In a nice visual way,
we just made the template once and then we could do it for sports or you know it was really easy and very quick for us,
2 to do that and that work really well for us and still you can still work.

[00:19:44] Dev:
Thought.
So the new customers how many are using any specific like I’m here you big a marketing expert are you using social media campaigns to Target specific,
hilarious that he knows that you know all you need is it like Google search it’s like I’m talking about like the new lead singer of Journey with new customer acquisition what has been what has work the best for you for this Friday.

[00:20:10] Constantine:
So
Are they said this is the reports were really well because we had a lot of traffic and some of them actually converted to a registered users.
And our work is to convert into paying customers.
But we have we we do we do some people see and the marketing and then some I’m content,
there’s lots of Word of Mouth you know we would wake up in the morning and she like lots of traffic from Brazil.
Coming from Facebook so we thought that you know people were posting it in them in them.
Facebook pages for bloggers for example and.
And that’s that’s interesting you know people where there was a lot of Work Out World what does mouth cancer look like,
the like one report for example and then he showed up with their friends and colleagues and then lots and lots of people can test it out.
I’m working on Monday in localizing some of the reports so wonderful,
Appliance in Brazil,
I’ll still be there you know the Facebook report looks great could you ask the developer to to go over it and in Portuguese,
what should we know I’m sure it’s going to work out then I’m sure people,
in Brazil we learn about it the more people will come from there so we were working on trying to get this paper right now.

[00:22:14] Dev:
And you know I wanted one common thing with the reports that happens is especially in the business World in ways it is used to report and.
2 minutes later they ask for something else or something or something that’s more specific for their own business need,
and you know how how does it take how is it handle with a platform like this someone you know is what is a daily part of the original report when I create a new version just specifically for that client or you know how how are.
The different feature request going to be handling this platform.

[00:22:52] Constantine:
So first of all.
Anyone can communicate with the developers they listen to messages on the rocket or they can leave comments on the report page.
But the mini mini come with a question like the one you mentioned.
Through as they come to us and them and then we will communicate with a developer so if it’s something that’s not too specific and developer likes that idea then then you talk to him if he wants to include it,
otherwise if it’s very custom.
That’s when we call this client and Enterprise client and then we have two different the fee structure and the.
And then we have quite a few of these type of customers that need something custom I can I can give you some examples.
So we have agencies.
That need specific reports and then sometimes they want some of their their own data.
So we’re going out we connect with their sources.
Or they want everything with their logo and branding,
pull up again something that we work with what we can offer and we do,
who are enterprise Enterprise plans another example is we working with you,
Consulting companies that need,
to collect the data off their clients from different sources and because we have 5 Collectors we help them with locks,
I’m out something that we also have under their Enterprise plant umbrella tree,
work that we do.

[00:25:14] Dev:
Thought you passed out you Constantine the color veracosa Pacific Consulting assignment your company doesn’t do that you have Consulting Partners to do that right.

[00:25:24] Constantine:
In the first example.
Women with agencies did some agencies for the collection something.
The developers developers doesn’t have a very specific what I’m talking about.
But I’m sure it’s something that we do and we only do it actually because it’s a good thing for us.

[00:26:00] Dev:
Yeah yeah I know do you know so basically I know I saw some of the available data sources like stripe most of the social media Google analytics put in addition to that are you also have ability to connect,
traditional relational or email Ellen or some other Big Data Solutions right.

[00:26:19] Constantine:
Oregon we are connected but for Enterprise plans so we don’t we don’t know that because it’s not something that I can offer you no wonder the other plans.

[00:26:33] Dev:
Hocus Pocus is recapping now on on the whole thing like what was it that one thing that you know he would do differently if you were to start a war with your class and you know start over and do it now again.

[00:26:49] Constantine:
Rooster.
Oh my God that looks of things and it comes with that comes with the thought of you know.
We get we get them we have a chance to experiment I will need to quickly see how something works or not,
so yeah I think that we’ve made we will do a lot of things differently,
okay I think if I was if I was to say one thing.
I would have kept our focus on corporate clients from day one.
We are in the very beginning we believe that we shouldn’t focus on.
On just one segment so that way we will try to approach everyone at once.
That doesn’t work that’s going to take ages and lots and lots of money so you need to focus on the only one.
Sigmund and after that when you shouldn’t talk works and then I can go and talk about it once so for example.
We went for personally fix some work like,
what’s up with you so I can turn in the only love slack so we created the one of the developers. So I’m going to unlock the door had an idea and spoke to us about them,
airport for slack like analyzing report once a week,
Foot Locker on Broad and you know a lot of developers taking it out and finding out what your face but then,
we also created a very nice report for for Fitbit,
which broke they’re all corrupt the wrong crowd and we would never pay for something like that it’s a beautiful report to look up it’s really useful I mean it’s a nice way to say to visualize data,
but I wouldn’t spend all this time we’re working on this report because it was we could not report.

[00:29:39] Dev:
So what are you saying both Sports track and field but it is definitely a consumer generally in your product but even that is not pretentious last report is not potentially something that people would be willing to pay for right.

[00:29:55] Constantine:
Okay that I put up with creative fun report and I love using it.
Butter maybe maybe a different type of report,
Force like maybe 4 for the management something that you need to see,
explore the different ways people communicate or maybe HR would be interested to see,
if someone is not communicating with other people or how often are you know,
note to see the conversations of course but to be able to see friends you know if somebody is high.
I’ll be nice you know you can see if you’re okay or not,
how responsive they are it’s at the show may be different what would be would be something about.
Maybe your mom is my daughter an HR department would be interested in.

[00:31:04] Dev:
Antonino venue said in its targeting of focusing more on the corporate clients you know you you are referring to maybe like social media agencies is that correct.

[00:31:15] Constantine:
Social media agencies small businesses brand managers.
The letter R mean audience and the other users for most of our customers are.

[00:31:35] Dev:
Okay okay so now you know we’re coming to the end so what what’s up what’s good what’s the vision for the New York and future are you planning to add like more Enterprise data sources such as CRM know you know you know what’s coming in the future.

[00:31:51] Constantine:
Yes I’m weird weird couldn’t sleep.
Looking into the lobster crmc NC Commerce.
So that’s one of the things that we want to work on is Magento answer the phone.
Search for something that we get a little bit?
and I think once we get this and I think you know the first I’ll be the first to offer support.

[00:32:41] Dev:
Anyone think you know I’ve noticed that I think.
A correct me I’m wrong if I’m wrong but there aren’t many analytics Marketplace if I’m pregnant.
That I am aware of you know are you definitely the first to you know start on this idea.

[00:33:03] Constantine:
Yes we actually I think there was another company that may try to do something.
When we started as well but we would never heard of where you know about them again.
It was it was it company in in the valley but.
I’m not sure if they actually don’t know we are I think we’re the only ones.
Domo is launched something they call the Marketplace like an app store.
But it’s only for people that are already using adobo.
I’m not sure I know so so we offer I guess I guess we have a big difference because it doesn’t Target small businesses.
Used.

[00:34:04] Dev:
Nnsy small businesses like you know do you do you see a typical factor in terms of the number of you know like your ideal customer after you having done this for years and you know is it like a.
What business within 200 employees are you know is it.
You know maybe or whatever you forward a million-dollar how old is characterize your ideal customer base.

[00:34:30] Constantine:
Things to do with the mentality of a good company.
I don’t see many similarities there with their customers and I think they must be interested.
In the in the social media and monitoring their performance and how you know people that have them at the Dollar Tree.
11 – 20 Proving Ground so I would say companies are.
More than 10 people or companies are most of the cases are our clients.

[00:35:13] Dev:
Awesome thank you so much are Constantine and I really appreciate your time today.