- Ukrainian B2B SaaS Getpin brought in USD 400K of Seed investment
- The startup offers a single platform of managing the online presence of offline businesses
- The new investment will accelerate the product development
Last November, Ukrainian online marketing SaaS startup Getpin landed a USD 400K Seed round of investment. The funding came from the well-known Czech VC Presto Ventures (invested in Blindspot Technologies, among others). Our reader may remember Getpin as one of the winners at SummerSaaS 2022.
Founded in 2019, Getpin offers an all-in-one solution for managing the online presence of offline businesses. Namely, it offers a one-stop shop for managing various online communication channels, including Google Business Profile, Bing Places for Business, Apple Business Connect, and Facebook Graph API.
Adphone and the Beginnings
Seasoned Ukrainian IT entrepreneur Volodymyr Leshchenko co-founded his first startup, Adphone, in 2012. It was a white-label SaaS for effective calls (pay-per-call), launched under the brand names of major telecom companies in Ukraine, Kyivstar and Vodafone. However, despite 100,000 registered businesses, the service faced monetization challenges. Businesses were unwilling to pay a premium for incoming calls and refused to pick up phones. The experience of creating value for the customers from scratch and the eminent approach to discovering their business needs, allowed Mr Leshchenko to continue his journey with his next startup.
The product that Getpin developed is a unified platform that allows businesses to update the information (description, news, offers, etc.) on their locations on Google Maps, Apple Maps, Bing Maps, OpenStreetMap, and other maps. They can also manage customer reviews and messages from all the various channels and thus, thanks to the feedback moderation service, improve the average rating of their business locations by manipulating the number of positive reviews.
Getpin was a participant in Challenger AI Accelerator – an international acceleration program tailored to help startup teams with AI/ML-based solutions increase their investment attractiveness, improve their product and business model, find investors and corporate partners, and overcome various other challenges.
‘Getpin was a great fit for our program because, at the time of entering the program, they were already offering a solution with evident market traction and a great potential to scale. The team and Volodymyr Leshchenko specifically were very active participants of the program, they were extracting as many insights as possible from the experts and mentors and proactively actively applying the gained information and skills for accelerating the development of their startup. At the final program’s event Demo Day, Getpin became the winner based on the evaluation of VC judges,’ Challenger AI Accelerator’s program coordinator Marharita Horokhova recalls.
Controlling the Feedback
Specifically, the recent Getpin RateMe solution allows customers online and offline to leave their ratings and reviews or give feedback. With this feature, businesses can create online surveys for visitors, for separate stations or a group within a specific region or city.
‘Also, the system has two tracks for positive and negative reviews: for positive we suggest leaving feedback on Google, Apple Maps, or Facebook. In contrast with negative ones – we ask for additional information and notify the business about it – to solve their customer’s problem faster and better. Through the Getpin platform businesses can manage complaints and challenges more effectively for the sake of end-users’ satisfaction,’ Mr Leshchenko explains.
Having launched in August 2019, Getpin had to show resilience to be able to withstand both COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
‘We assessed and analyzed the problem in order to adapt quickly. Our streamlined decision-making process, facilitated by having only one founder, played to our advantage, enabling faster implementation of our solutions. For instance, at the beginning of the full-scale invasion in early 2022, the company experienced a 55% decrease in turnover. Assessing available alternatives, instead of cutting costs, we choose to intensify our effort to enter international markets, attract large customers, and continue developing the technology to satisfy the needs of new customers,’ Mr Leschenko recalls.
It is the resilience that particularly appealed to the investors. The sustainable development of the product under acute circumstances and its successful expansion beyond the borders of Ukraine convinced us to support the scaling of Getpin.
‘Volodymyr is an incredibly dedicated founder who is determined to make Getpin a success no matter what. We have seen how effectively he has overcome the difficulties associated with the pandemic and the unfolding of war. It was quite the experience following Volodymyr through ups and downs related to COVID and the war, as all Getpins’ clients were historically in Ukraine – and seeing him prevail, against all odds. Dedication, resilience, and attention to customer needs were particularly convincing to us,’ Presto Ventures’ partner Roman Nováček tells ITKeyMedia.
LLM-Centered Product Development and Geographic Expansion
2022 was also the time when Getpin began implementing AI solutions in its product. Namely, the platform began integration LLM for the detection of issues with displayed business information, autonomous processing of reviews, and generation of texts and images for creating posts. The LLM are outsourced from different sources, including Open AI, and the team manages the product to deliver consistent results.
‘Getpin’s successful expansion to other countries convinced us to add fuel to Volodymyr’s scaling machine,’ Mr Nováček points out.
Fueling Getpin’s scaling machine means supporting further expansion in CEE and LatAm. More specifically, the new investment will be used to extend and deepen the SaaS’ presence in these markets.
‘On every new market, we need to do Product-Market-fit all over again: starting with understanding the local environment and specifics, analyzing the opportunities, and talking to key players and local partners who can become our resellers in new markets. Then, we localize and adapt our product to the environment and customer’s needs: value proposition, pricing, sales pitching, etc.’ Mr Leshchenko specifies.
Additionally, the Getpin team continuously develops new product features and improvements, so we are left to anticipate the details.
Kostiantyn is a freelance writer from Crimea but based in Lviv. He loves writing about IT and high tech because those topics are always upbeat and he’s an inherent optimist!