It has been almost a year since we launched Interesante.com to the public. It continues to be a fantastic ride and there are a lot of things that we’ve learned that I’d like to share. The main thing we learned is to be clear, concise and truthful with our users, investors, and advisors. To that end, I’ve prepared this post that explains who we are, how we came to be, and where are we going.
Interesante is the place where you can find the most interesting things in the world. A smart engine that learns from your culture, location and favorite activities. Interesante will change the way that people discover content and will allow brands and advertisers to have access to a largely untapped market of 260 million people across South America, Central America and North America.
Before I go on, I want to clarify our approach and the way we see the Latino market, especially in the United States. To do that, I’d like to share two numbers with you. 80% of Latinos in the US are of Mexican descent. That number dwarfs whatever difficulty people have understanding a seemingly complicated and multicultural US Latino market. Mexican-Americans dominate the so-called Latino market in the US and for a startup like ours, that delineates a path to user acquisition that is much more straightforward. The other number is $58 billion dollars. That is the amount that Latinos spend in travel in the US alone. Interesante can help them find what they want, when they want it.
If you are going after such a big market, you need a great team of smart and accomplished folks that understand the problem and know how to build the solution. Our team is extremely diverse. 50% of our team is women. We have biologists working population ecology and artists building user interfaces. We have folks that have worked for Accenture, Intuit, Sun Microsystems, Tangelo, Stanford and more.
Most importantly, we understand the problem. Most of our team is in Argentina so three times a year we all meet in Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires is a beautiful city with wonderful places to visit. But none of us live there so we would spend our free time after long coding hours searching for things that we like. Let me tell you, the first few trips were not as fun. We spent hours searching for places we liked. There was no cultural, location, or interest layer that could help us discover people, places, or products that matched our interests. We talked to people and many had the same problem. Even the locals!
So, we built Interesante.
But a team, no matter how good, needs a set of advisors that have done it before. These are the people that have been with us from the start. These are the people that believed that we could do this even before we launched.
You now know the team behind Interesante and the genesis of the idea.
Now let me dive into the problem. Content discovery is fragmented. For users it is hard to find the content they like. Brands that want to reach this demographic have to resort to small buys in niche sites or large display buys across content producing networks. I mean, it seems that a new Latino-focused TV channel launches every week.
Our solution distributes content based on geolocated moments and affinity. We start with creation by users and aggregation of content. We curate the content through algorithms and distribute it to our users based on their interests, location, and favorite activities. We allow for discovery of people, places and products based on affinity. All this data is then turned into insights for the users themselves and for brands.
What is the impact?
As soon as we launched, we were covered by over 200 publications. Giovanni Rodriguez from Forbes was the first to write an article about Interesante. Over the past four months we’ve achieved a 20X traffic growth and we have over 500,ooo interests in our platform. Because of this, hotel brands came to us and wanted to use Interesante as a marketing platform to engage their guests at their properties. We have helped hundreds of hotels increase their traffic and reduce their bounce rate by 15 to 20%. We achieved that in the first week.
We offer this solution to the hotels as a freemium model. They can use the platform for free with ads or pay a monthly subscription for an ad-free platform.
We have competition. Pinterest is a platform to share content, not for discovery. MercadoLibre is a person-to-person e-commerce platform but it is not a marketing or discovery platform. We are different because of the algorithms that power our discovery engine and the laser focused approach in our target market.
We are Interesante.com –– where you can discover the most interesting things in the world. We closed a $425,000 seed round last December (2012) and we are bootstrapping right now. We are open to receiving investment and most importantly, to partner with folks that can help us grow faster.