After securing a $5.35 million in Series A funding in September last year, former television host Jules Lund’s influencer marketing startup is taking its first steps towards world domination in the UK.
Lund says Tribe analysed more than 50 countries on 20 different metrics, including “growth of social media ad spend”, “Instagram penetration”, “competitive landscape” and “ease of doing business”, before it decided to venture into the UK last month.
“It’s a gamble to choose the first region to expand into,” Lund tells StartupSmart.
Since launching in Melbourne in 2015, Tribe — led by chief executive Anthony Svirskis — has connected more than 2000 brands with over 10,000 social media influencers.
“We’ve had so much reach out from around the globe,” Lund says.
While China and the US were also on Tribe’s list, Lund says Tribe wouldn’t have the capacity yet to tackle these massive markets.
With the UK’s marketing industry being similar to Australia’s and its thirst for influencer-driven campaigns growing, Lund says it presented an ideal first market for Tribe to go global.
“Now, in the UK they know what influencer marketing is, they know what micro-influencer marketing is,” he says.
“They just want to know how to do it better.”
According to Tribe, micro-influencers are social media users who have anywhere from 3000 to 100,000 engaged followers on either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
The “nerve-wrecking” but exciting part of going global
“In Australia, with my profile in the media I never knew what was me and what was our product, and so going into the UK was a bit nerve-wrecking because I did not have that profile there at all – which excites me,” says Lund.
“The velocity of adoption has exceeded expectation [in the UK].”
Lund believes that Tribe’s venture into the UK will break the platform out of the “purely Australian lens” it was built on.
“As soon as you internationalise it for one market, you’ve actually just built something powerful for the globe,” he says.
In line with this, recruiting the right people to move Tribe forward is now a priority, he says.
“We make our staff jump through quite a few hoops,” says Lund.
Tribe’s global team of more than 40 people work from Melbourne, Sydney, Mumbai and London.
“We spend a lot of time with our candidates to find the right people because you move at such a pace and you have no opportunity to lose time,” he says.
Choose your markets wisely
Lund says lesson number one for startups going global is “don’t be swayed by the anecdotal”.
“Take the qualitative data and anecdotes and emotion out of your decision,” he says.
“Invest in thorough analysis. Then you spend time in the market to learn about the opportunities and threats … Once you’ve made a decision on the location, then spend a lot of time in market.
“You don’t want to get it the other way round.”
Working with experienced locals on the ground is also critical, he says.
“We spent months in the market, speaking to brands, agencies, influencers and publishers,” says Lund.
“Don’t underestimate good local PR teams — they understand the lay of the land and it’s been invaluable for us.”