Only a year ago Jodie Curtis and Vrindy Benson saw the rise of social media stars, and knew that there was a possibility to be able to allow social media influencers the chance to make a solid living off their followers.
At that stage both girls, 22, had each built successful e-commerce businesses, creating brands for swim war and underwear and then selling directly through their Instagram accounts. After a trip to Bali sourcing more products for their lines, they had the idea for Founder.
“Peer to peer marketing is on the rise, with more brands steering towards paid promotion on platforms like Instagram and FaceBook, than the traditional billboard approach” said Benson.
“We wanted to be able to take it one step further, and allow brands to connect with influences willing to do paid promotion, with the hassle of having to trawl multiple web bases and Apps.”
They figured if they could create something that addressed their own needs for their individual businesses then it would also be something others would be willing to pay for. They teamed up to develop Founder. But not before a few twists and pivots.
Originally they pitched their concept at the 2016 Pitch Competition and won over the judges with their articulation of the need and product solution – they won the Highly Commended Prize. This was done under a different business name. After some market testing and pitching to other audiences they quickly realised the need to focus on their customer and talk to them directly – which is when they honed in on “Founder” as their platform is designed to firstly grow established labels and brands, by connecting them with popular Instagram Influencers, to do paid promotional work, and secondly to provide a platform for the budding entrepreneur to start a label, by giving them access to the best manufacturers worldwide to create their dream brand.
With the experience of pitching came more confidence in their product and they were asked to join a select group of 6 Degrees businesses to attend StartCon in Sydney, to not only represent themselves but also Coffs Harbour as an emerging area of startup activity. There they pitched the StartCon Pitch Comp, had a booth in Startup Alley and networked, networked and networked!
Which brings us to less than a year after pitching in Coffs Harbour, they have gone through one name change, a complete redesign of their App and have recently launched the new App with over 1500 downloads in the first two weeks. The App is free to download from the App Store, and is fast becoming the go to for creatives and entrepreneurs looking to work for themselves.
“We have been so blessed with being able to live our dream life, travelling, working online and being our own bosses. In this day and age you can literally do whatever you want with the access to information that is so readily available” said Curtis. “We wanted to build Founder to be able to let other young entrepreneurs either build their brand, or start their own so that they too can have the lifestyle they want.”