Startup Of The Week: Plindy
Meet and welcome Kazimieras Mažonas, co-founder of Plindy, a startup which directly connects performers with customers without any struggle. What exactly is Plindy, how does it work and what are the people behind the startup Kazimieras Mažonas reveals in our Startup Of The Week interview.
So what is Plindy? How does it work?
Plindy is an online sharing economy platform where musicians are connected with people.
It’s a platform where musicians can promote themselves, receive more show requests and expand their audience while customers and event organizers can easily find them on Plindy.
Probably everyone can imagine how difficult and time-consuming is to find the right artist or band for an upcoming event. From struggle to find suitable style performers, to negotiating the terms and finally purchasing the service. We created a platform that eliminates the latter problem.
On Plindy people can find any type of musician through a user-friendly search engine that filters most suitable artists according to organizers event type, music style, instrumental choice, date, and price willing to pay. The system automatically filters most relevant profiles containing all the information needed to create most accurate impression about a band or musician.
Each artist or band is required to create a detailed profile to ensure proper customer’s choice with a description of what to expect: music styles they play, a program to expect, instruments used and price they are charging for the basic show. Everything is backed up with photos and videos from previous events so that customer would be able to create an accurate impression of the artist prior his event.
Once the choice is done, a customer may communicate the details and book an artist directly through our platform.
What are your competitors and competitive advantages?
There are two types of competitors that we tend to separate. Databases with no advanced filter search system, communication platform and lack of artist information. There are also music agencies with a limited amount of artists that are hardly reachable and takes higher commission rate because of a specific share directed to them. Very few direct competitors exist in Baltics, however, none of them offers as quick and detailed service purchase experience as we do.
Our main competitive advantage is that our artists without any additional efforts and expenses can promote themselves through our platform which is linked to search engines. On the other hand, customers may quickly find the relevant style and price range musicians while communicating and booking them through our communication and booking platform.
What were the reasons behind coming up with this idea and launching this product?
We realized that majority of talented and skilled artists cannot earn a significant amount of income from their beloved occupation simply because they are not visible. We think musicians should do what they do best – to perform rather than spend days of trying to advertise themselves and craving for that one gig in someone’s event. Despite having the willingness to get purchased they are simply unavailable for masses since the lack of advertising and promoting skills prevent from that. Meanwhile, if you are a potential customer looking for artists, you will not be able to reach majority since they are simply not public. You will either end up in the same closed circle of artists that are regulated by agencies or purchase the ones that are recommended to you.
Thus we created the platform that connects them all. Firstly trying to validate our theory and doing some data from surveys we immediately realized the need for such platform and the benefit it will add. The idea immediately turned into proof of concept that needed to be developed further into a final product.
When exactly did you launch, what were the main challenges before launching?
We started to build the platform on the autumn of 2016, where a lot of coding and shaping was done on the concept. After the beta version was tested for several times, we had the working product and officially launched Plindy on March 2017.
One of the main challenges prior launching was to check what a typical customer would need to do for a quick booking. Despite the difficulties to imagine what a typical customer’s journey when booking a gig would look like it was a fun process to test our assumptions and finally agree on the concept that is available on our platform today.
We are currently focusing on Lithuanian market since our performers’ database is mainly Lithuania’s residents aiming to perform locally. However, our aim is to overcome it quickly to address Baltics and Spanish markets later. We understand that it will require different databases to be created, however, this would not be a problem since we have a local presence there and the product will be already validated with a good record of feedback.
The range of our targeted customers is quite broad. We distinguish them in two groups. First, we target individual people aiming to organize an event, celebration or a party requiring musicians for private event handled by themselves. They can easily look for an appropriate musician and quickly order from our artists’ database. Another group – professional event organizers, bars, cafes, nightclubs, companies – everyone planning special event for their group of attendees. The selection process and our aim do not change with both of the groups – if everyone found the most suitable musicians and booked through our platform – our aim is completed and we are happy to help.
What are main challenges while working on this product and how are you overcoming them?
When testing our product with first users we noticed that the gathered feedback on different aspects are very varied. For instance, some of the performers did not like the idea to show basic performance type while others expressed the opinion that this is a good way to compete. Such opinion conflicts complicated the decision-making and implementation process. However, we wanted to disrupt the market, therefore our current version is the one that we will follow. We are constantly talking with industry experts, senior artists who inspire us to stick to the current choice. Feedback is the most important aspect for us to improve, therefore to manage and correspond to it sometimes makes it harder than expected.
How are you funded? Do you seek extra funding?
Currently, we are funding product by ourselves. However, since we are an early-stage startup, we are looking for seed investment to strengthen our position in existing market and to add some additional features to our product.
Please introduce your founders, your core team and your broader team?
At present, we are 5 co-founders on our team – Paulius Tuzikas, Arnoldas Vagneris, Valius Rubinas, Kazimieras Mažonas and Aleksandr Osipov. Each graduated from different fields and gaining several years of different experience we gathered together to create this product.
How has business been so far? Could you share some numbers to illustrate this (users, sales, etc)?
Currently, our platform is focusing on artist acquisition. Since we launched our platform over the period of several months we attracted more than 200 musicians. Since the platform is still under improvement stage, we do not benefit from the number of significant bookings that currently occur in the platform. This will be changed soon once packaging and payment systems will be implemented.
Future plans, ambitions? Simply speaking – what’s next?
Now we are starting to target customers since our local artists database is significantly filled. Looking more into future, we will be targeting other Baltic countries as well as Spanish market since one of our co-founders has presence there. After doing the competitor analysis we understood that the current solutions lack focus and are customer unfriendly. We want to overcome that by building several versions for different markets acquiring local artists as well as potential customers. Our goal is to become leading booking platform in Europe that could easily connect musicians and their customers’ thanks.
Thank you Kazimieras for your time and for this interview!