Today we’d like to introduce you to Jason Will.
Jason, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
The whole journey started as a traveling IT consultant, which has many similarities to the movie, “Up in the Air.”
Being on the road 4 days a week presents several challenges as well as opportunities to recognize the inefficiencies of traveling that often.
In late 2012, Zipkick started as the world’s first personalized hotel search and booking platform. All of the search results were tailored to your search/booking history, preferences and in-app behaviors. This venture was rapidly successful and within a few months, there were talks of acquisition. Personally, the focal point of starting a company is about people first and solving a significant problem versus selling out before the vision comes to fruition.
There were a number of changes within the travel industry in 2015 and access to hotel data exponentially went up in cost. At that time, I decided to shift the company and make us less reliant on external sources.
In 2016, the rebirth of Zipkick came alive as an influencer recommendation app for the best food and beverage venues globally. Within our first year, there were over 100 cities and several hundred influencers frequently contributing their favorite establishments.
Fast forward to today and are over 400 cities across 63 countries. The network effect of our influencer community continues to amaze me daily. Zipkick evolved from there to servicing many clients in the food and beverage industry.
We often get requests for influencer activations, social media management and driving traffic into their establishments. After taking a step back to survey the interaction between brands and influencers, there were many takeaways. It’s clear that digital word of mouth is driven by influencers and the industry is very much still in its infancy.
Agencies are looking for ways to diversify their offering without having to rely solely on scaling their human capital. Probably the most important gap is a lack of transparency between brands and influencers since social media often feels like the Wild West with algorithms changing exposure frequently, artificial means of follower and engagement growth as well as the inability of knowing which brands that influencers are being paid by.
Our company has gone all in to provide that transparency for brands and hold both parties accountable to ensure a quality interaction. Zipkick’s new Software as a Service (SaaS) platform allows a brand to rate an influencer similar to an Uber or Lyft driver, influencers are scored based on their real-world influence that goes well beyond follower count and reduces hyper-targeted influencer activations to minutes.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The hardest part is knowing when to pivot and the messaging. After going through 3 pivots in 6 years, I feel the transitions have become much easier.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Zipkick – what should we know?
Zipkick has carved out a well-known brand within the influencer industry especially due to our Instagram presence. I’m most proud of helping so many small and emerging companies scale up because of the service.
Also, we have paid very close attention to our influencer community culture. The goal from day 1 was to have our community represent the most diverse and exceptional group of people. As a result, the quality of their content and the interpersonal connections remain high.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
The credit goes to our influencer community because without them Zipkick would cease to exist. I sincerely believe that everyone in our community understands we deeply care about them and work tirelessly on their behalf to create growth opportunities.
My parents have given their endless support through the years. In moments of uncertainty that has provided the fuel to push forward.
- $349 per month for unlimited influencer activations
- Website: https://zipkick.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zipkick
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Zipkick/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/zipkick
@bzeaters, @mrscotteddy, @eats_by_e, @fancydinnerclub, @houstonfoodee, @lovefoodlove3, @josheatsphilly, @dcnomster