A Q&A with Spinnakr co-founder Michael Mayernick. The actionable analytics software startup announced in early June that it had raised nearly $1 million in Seed funding. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, 500 Startups, Point Nine Capital and Sand Hill Angels. Spinnakr is based in Washington, D.C. and Palo Alto.
SUB: Please describe Spinnakr and your primary innovation.
Mayernick: Spinnakr is a web analytics product that focuses on real-time and predictive insights. We’ve totally killed the messy charts and graphs that made web analytics work so difficult. Instead, Spinnakr users are simply delivered insights like magical little presents, all of the complex real-time analysis wrapped up with the top-line headline. The cool part about these presents is that each one contains recommendations that help you translate them to more sales and sign-ups.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Mayernick: Any online business or website will benefit from using Spinnakr. Spinnakr’s insights and optimizations help websites increase conversions, so it is especially well-suited for anyone actively working on specific conversion goals, like registering users for a site or selling subscriptions.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Mayernick: There are many companies in the analytics and optimization space. Since Spinnakr is built to identify important insights rather than report the raw chart-based data existing analytics products provide, most of these products can be used as a compliment to Spinnakr.
Mayernick: Every other analytics product expects you to interpret charts and graphs to get meaning from your data, and that’s hard and slow. It means that only big companies and people with analytics expertise seriously use analytics today. Spinnakr is the first product built that does all of that work for you—from insight, to recommendation, to action—and lets the user focus on being creative while building their site or business.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Mayernick: Spinnakr is almost two years old. When we first started, we built a tool to help websites change content on their site depending on the type of visitor that was looking at it. While this was neat, lots of people found it too complicated to use and we got really thinking about how we could radically reduce the complexity around all these tools.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Spinnakr? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Mayernick: Previously, my co-founder and I were working with digital strategists for political campaigns. It was crazy to see a few big, sophisticated campaigns doing all these smart and clever things with their data tools, but all the other campaigns—even relatively savvy ones—essentially had no idea what to do with analytics. We wanted to build a product that could unlock that value in an easy and fun way for everyone else. We knew if we succeeded, we could change the way people did engagement and business online.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Mayernick: We wanted a crisp, brandable name that we could grow with. I love sailing and looked to nautical terms for inspiration. A ‘spinnaker’ is a giant sail flown at the front of the boat when sailing high speed downwind. This idea—of being powerful, fast, but effortless—is at the core of how we think about problems and technology.
SUB: You recently raised just less than $1 million in Seed funding. Why was this a particularly good time to raise funding?
Mayernick: We feel like we really have a strong product experience and a clear vision for where to take the company. It is something I’m very excited about and raising money will help us get there all the faster.
SUB: Do you have plans to raise more venture funding in the near future?
Mayernick: It is important to always be thinking about the best way to grow the company, but for now we’re focused on continuing to improve the product and grow our user base.
Mayernick: While traditional analytics products just report data, Spinnakr’s novel real-time insight engines analyze the endless stream of visitors to identify trends and insights. Because this is done as the data comes in, we need to work with a huge volume of data and apply analysis to it in real-time. Scaling the infrastructure to support this has been a really rewarding and interesting challenge to take on.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Mayernick: Spinnakr [offers a] free version of the product, with more advanced features available on a monthly subscription, priced based on how much traffic a user’s site gets.
SUB: What are your goals for Spinnakr over the next year or so?
Mayernick: Our goal is to build the best analytics tool out there. Doing that will mean continuing to gather feedback from our users and tweak the algorithms that generate our insights and recommendations, so we’ll be focused on adding new users and continuing to improve the product.
Spinnakr – www.spinnakr.com