Musefind, a local Vancouver startup that create an online platform for retail brands to connect with social media influencers on Instagram to endorse their products and grow sales, has been accepted as the first and only Canadian company to have been accepted and funded by ERA (Entrepreneur’s Roundtable) NYC, one of New York City’s top technology accelerators.
Inspiring other Vancouver entrepreneurs and startups to reach beyond the beautiful province of British Columbia, here is their story.
The idea sparked back when Jennifer and Stephen personally experienced the challenge and frustration to market their e-commerce brand by contacting the right social media fashion influencers on Instagram. They went through the Kick program hosted at Spring and found that several online brands were struggling with this same problem.
They brought their idea of a platform that connect brands to market through influencers to Startup Weekend in winter 2014. Andry Tanusdjaja was one of the first people who approached them and vetted the “three-sticker-votes” to the idea. They assembled a team and cranked out an MVP in less than 48 hours and pitched to a panel of judges. They didn’t place but knew they were onto something.
The core team came down to Jennifer Li, Stephen Shen and Andry Tanusdjaja and were encouraged by their advisors Keith Ippel and Nancy Chapman in Spring Activator to continue.
Launching their alpha in February 2015, they had their first paying online brand customers try the platform with their modest database of 100 Instagram influencers. They had the opportunity to pitch at the Vinetta Project (previously known as Girl’s Raising). Again, the team did not win any of the prizes.
This was a clear sign for the team to look down south for strategic advisors and networks to grow Musefind. After applying to two accelerators in New York, they were invited to fly down to the city for their final in person interview for Entrepreneur’s Roundtable.
By the time they flew in, Stephen, Andry and Jennifer grew Musefind in revenue by a rate of 25 per cent each month and by mid-April, had acquired over 170,000 Instagram influencer users in their network.
Musefind is the first Canadian company to be funded and accepted as part of the Entrepreneur’s Roundtable Accelerator in New York City and will start as one of the 10 final companies chosen to be a part of the summer cohort.