The Los Angeles company was founded in late 2012 by Daron Destiny (CEO), Todd Jones (Product / Infrastructure), and C. Vincent Plummer (Marketing / UX & UI Design). Prior to starting the the company, Daron had sold a record label and a few movies to Warner Brothers. Todd came from a background as a film editor and as a professional gadget tinkerer. I had experience with design, marketing, and social media in the entertainment space.
We raised significant angel funds and released multiple products and iterations into the market before I left the company in the summer of 2015.
OUR STRATEGY FOR GROWTH:
- There were roughly 20 categories on Bedloo. We saw them as verticals of opportunity and contacted bloggers, influencers, publishers, and brands that might have interest in owning the space. We would get them to ask their own questions to their fans. To answer the question and see basic level stats, you didn't need to sign up. To see how you matched up with everyone else, you needed to register.
- Third party validation increased trust. Trust led to consumer account creation and content generation.
- We used an army of interns to ask pop culture questions provide the site with content.
start with a Godfather.
We had the honor to bring John Martino back in front of the camera. You might remember him as “Paulie Gatto” from Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather.”
Brands we worked with:
Prior to launching this company, none of us were technologists. Initially, we didn't feel that we had the background to be selected for the more traditional tech incubators like YC or TechStars. We did, however, have initial capital from our CEO / lead angell Daron, so we built a website and the early mobile experience for iOS. We also had some charisma and connections to the entertainment industry. We doubled down on what we had and threw launch parties. Each party had an A vs. B voting element that produced a wild spectacle influencers and investors.
We threw four launch parties and raised over a million dollars.
hip hop and bedloo
Hip hop had a unique influence on the growth of our user base. Our CEO had strong connections with this part of the industry. Some of the more pivotal moments of that influence were:
- Partnering with Hot 97 (Battle of the Beats) and their publisher partners from the parent brand - Emmis Communication.
- Flooding our site with 13 year old girls by partnering with Mindless Behaviour.
- Product placement on Migos "Versace" video.
- The Migos recorded a song called Bedloo with us in the studio. It went viral.
- Lil’ Wayne’s YoungMoney.com Uses Bedloo for March Madness Bracket
- Product placement on DJ Khaled "They Don’t Love You No More”
- Live voting party with A$AP Mob and AllHipHop.com at South by Southwest
More 3rd party validation
We saw varying spikes of user acquisition from lifestyle, sports, and television celebrities. This also helped the checks come in and increased investor confidence. Some of the more notable examples of this were:
- Our t-shirt worn on Showtime by Marcos Maidana - Maidana vs. Mayweather Jr. (925k PPV buys)
- Sponsoring Antonio Tarver and having him wear our brand to the ring - Tarver vs. Shepherd
- Product featured on Extra by Mario Lopez
- Product featured on The Daily Buzz & WE Tv’s Emotional Mojo
- Partnership with high school Football championship - Fox Sports
I wrote a handful of op-ed's and started a podcast series partnering with Hypebot.com. The mission was to establish thought leadership for Bedloo and get musicians to use the soundcloud portion of our product by leveraging the fanbase of a larger publisher and the social networks of each guest. It was the first time I ever experimented with podcasting and I learned a lot about narrative by recording and transcribing each podcast. I completed about 15 episodes before getting pulled in a different direction in the business. Thanks to the folks at CyberPR for the idea.
results / takeaways
Bedloo was an incredibly valuable teacher. The daily hustle was an educational roller coaster ride filled with dizzying decisions about designing product, chasing money, decoding hype, and deciphering analytics. It sharpened my digital marketing skills and deepened my understanding about money and influence. It also introduced me to a new love affair with user experience design and a deepened my desire to work with consumer web products. Even in painful failure, it was one of the most defining professional experiences of my life.