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Alexandra Keating, CEO + Co-founder of DWNLD, has made it possible for all bloggers and media companies to create unique and customizable apps in three easy steps.  From her experience as Vice President of Marketing and Partnerships at Thrillist and Co-Founder of GoFundraise at age 19, Alexandra knows the importance of offering high-profile and aspiring bloggers a platform for creating beautiful and affordable mobile apps.  From raising a $12 million investment from Greylock Partners to educating content creators on how to monetize, Alexandra is committed to providing personalized premium apps, insightful analytics, and open architecture advertising partnerships for free or a low monthly cost.  Learn how quickly you can create your own app, how to monetize your content, and how to navigate the fundraising landscape.

Click here to create your unique and personalized mobile app with DWNLD.

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Anyone can start something - you’ve just got to go for it.

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Mobile Media

Who are the media companies, brands, and influencers using DWNLD?

The DWNLD user is any type of content creator such as a blogger or major media company including someone who has a commerce shop or a YouTube or Vimeo channel.  We work with many types of content creators to make their original content mobile in the form of an app.  Anyone who wants an app can do so on the DWNLD platform.

How long does it take to build an app using DWNLD?

It’s a three-step process that can take up to a minute and a half.  You can either import your content or create original content just like you would in Squarespace or Wordpress.  Once your content is imported, you can customize anything you want from layout, images, text, or font, as well as commerce and music.  When you’re ready, press submit, and we’ll submit it to the App Store for you.  Once your app is live, you can still make changes such as adding premium content or commerce and your app will update in real time.

How does DWNLD improve the content and commerce user experience?

One thing people don’t realize about mobile websites is that they can be really slow to load webpages.  Depending on what platform you’ve built your content, there may be a lot of plugins running in the background.  The drop-off rate for users is quite high if a webpage doesn’t load instantly.  By getting users into a mobile app, they’ll consume more page views in more sessions.  With DWNLD, it’s super fast and easy for users to load your content.

In addition, the check-out experience on mobile can be quite tedious and difficult, especially if you want to buy multiple items.  A lot of bloggers and media companies are recommending products for users to buy within the article.  Creating that experience in a mobile app can be done in really cool ways such as creating shopping carousels, allowing people to filter and sort products they think other users would like to buy, or by adding multiple items to your cart at check-out.

Another way to use the platform is to look at the different analytics such as the time of day when people are most engaged with your content, sending push notifications, or turning on rich advertising.  You can sell your own advertising through DFP (DoubleClick for Publishers), for example, or with any of your existing ad networks.  If you want DWNLD to help, we’ll connect you with someone who will sell against your categories, content, or end user in interesting ad units that people really like.

It was important to me that everyone have an app, so I created a freemium model.  If you’re a hobbyist, you can use the platform without ever having to pay us.  We make sure all of our users are making money before we ever charge them.  And even then the first pay point is $15 per month which will give you access to all of our features.  On the high end, we offer you the ability to export content and run your own analysis and that costs $100 per month.

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By having users in a mobile app, they’ll consume more page views in more sessions.

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How can DWNLD help content creators monetize their content?

When I started to work with bloggers and media companies across different categories and age groups, I realized that no one knew the value of their audience or how to monetize their content.  What we want to do is educate the user.  There are three easy ways to monetize your content.  The first way is to sell against a brand who wants to be associated with you as an influencer.  This is called native advertising and can be a little bit more work to create.  The second way is to sell against the media you already have and the third way is to monetize against the end-user.

It can be really hard to access Revlon money, for example, if you’re a beauty blogger, but don’t have millions of uniques per month.  DWNLD aligns you with content creators who are doing similar things in order to build that audience and get you super rich advertising to sell against the platform.  We work with your existing ad networks, teach you how to sell your own ad inventory, and if you want to opt-in for us to sell your advertising, we’re very transparent about how to do that.  As more users come to the platform, we use the power of the network to negotiate better deals and give our content creators the benefit of better rates.

What is your vision of the future and features for DWNLD?

I want to change the way people create content.  Most people will look at a template they like and try to fit their content into that template.  The content is your story and should be reflected in the layout.  As you publish your posts, we help you to look as visually compelling as possible.  If you have a finance blog, it’s really about the text, headlines, and sending push notifications.  If you have a recipe blog, it’s more about the images.

We want to build features for your users to interact with your content.  For example, if you’re on a recipe page, you should be able to change all of the metrics of the ingredients on your phone and insta-cart the ingredients.  I want to give content the best user experience possible whether it’s putting the ingredients in a ‘wishlist,’ tagging ‘save for later,’ or offering price comparison with other products.

 

Watch Alexandra's bSmart interview here!

We use the power of the network to give our content creators better rates.

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Outstanding Aussie

In what ways did your background prepare you to be an entrepreneur?

I grew up in a political family and as a result I was exposed to a lot of interesting people and had the opportunity to converse with them on a variety of topics.  Being able to see the world through their eyes, and to talk about what they were working, on allowed me to learn a lot in a short amount of time.

I didn’t study economics or engineering, I studied sociology and psychology.  My family encouraged me to think differently, see the world through a new lens, see where the needs are, and then have the confidence to act on it.  You can tell pretty quickly whether you’re on the right journey or not.  Once you know you’re on the right path, you can seek investment, and go from there.  Anyone can start something - you’ve just got to go for it.

What is your advice for hiring and managing a successful team?

Your initial hires are the most important.  Really take your time hiring and only hire the right people at the right time.  I know that sounds very logical, but a lot of people get a big round of investments and they’ll hire a head of marketing and a head of sales and bring all of these people in at the same time.  Bringing someone into a culture too quickly will change your existing culture.  I never recommend anyone hire more than one to two people per month and I never recommend people hire executives until much much later or not at all.  Often executives are used to running four to six person teams and they actually can’t or won’t do the dirty work you need in an early stage company.

I often see a lot of tech companies and people who are just starting out be really stingy with their employees when they first hire them.  They give the excuse that because they’re a tech company, they can’t pay very well and that equity is tight.  I advise you to not be stingy.  Give your employees a fair vesting schedule and if you give them options, give them a decent period of time to buy back, and be transparent about exactly what their equity is worth.

It’s not just about bringing people in, it’s about helping them build their own lives.  If they’re going to be with you for a long period of time, they need to know they can do so in the long-run.  That’s a big thing in terms of recruiting talent.  In terms of management, spend as much time with people as possible.  I share my calendar, so that no matter who you are in the company, you know where I am at every single moment.  That gives everyone the knowledge that I’m working for the company twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

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No one knew the value of their audience or how to monetize their content.

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How does an entrepreneur know if they’re ready for investor capital?

Walking into a room with just an idea or a deck (without having a team or a product) puts you at risk and gives the opportunity for someone to say ‘no’ really quickly.  Chances are they’re going to say, ‘Go build it and then come back.’  In the seed stages, make sure you’ve got a product and do everything you can while working at your existing job.  What that allows you to do is leverage something of value and have a price point to start your negotiations in your own favor.  After you create your product, raise what you need to go to market.  Once you’re in market, raise what you need to bring your audience in.  The stage after that is called ‘upscaling’ and that’s when you do your big round of fundraising after you’ve increased your value at every increment.

Just because you have a hot product and people are throwing money at you, don’t take it all, and only take it from the right people.  I would go to all of the different venture capital networking events, build relationships, and keep investors in the loop when I would run into them.  I would say, ‘I’m going to come to you when I’m ready, but I’m not ready yet.  You’re going to like the product and these are the reasons you’re going t like it.’  I would never divulge too much, but they always knew I would call them when I was ready (which was years later) and I knew I was going to get the meeting.

When you’re in a big round of fundraising, be really organized about it.  Know six weeks in advance everyone you want to meet with because every venture capital firm has its own process.  You might have to meet with one partner before you meet with another partner.  You have to be very mindful of the logistics and leverage yourself.  By spreading out the meetings too much, you end up running around Silicon Valley, New York, or LA meeting with family offices or big venture capital firms and negotiations become out of order.  Be really organized, get a digital assistant, have everyone you want to meet with lined up back to back, and keep your process within six to eight weeks.  Everything will move faster, you’ll put more pressure on everyone, and you’ll get the best deal you can.

What has been your biggest lesson learned founding two tech companies?

When I launched my first company, I was really young. I didn’t know what fundraising was (in Australia there were no angel funds or venture capital firms) so I barely raised any money for my first company.  That was great on the one side because when I sold the company, I owned the majority of the equity.  But on the other side, I would have scaled much faster had I gotten money from the right people and not been afraid to have those conversations.  Don’t be afraid to raise money, don’t run yourself ragged, don’t make life too hard for yourself trying to do the job of 20 people just to get by.  If you have a good product, it’s worth the investment, and you can negotiate good terms.

The second thing I learned is that lawyers really are your best friends and have been through it all before.  I use Anik Guha at Orrick and I’ve used him since day one with DWNLD.  He’s had so much experience and has helped me in defining my terms and in setting up different structures for investing.  I did all of my own legal work with my first company.  The amount of feedback and knowledge I’ve received from my lawyer has been huge and has made my life a lot easier.

I’ve also learned a lot as it pertains to holistic health and wellbeing.  It’s very important as a leader in a company to be healthy and have energy every single day.  That means cutting out a lot of the social stuff and spending more time at the gym and eating well.  As I’ve been on a health kick over the last two years, so has everyone else in the company.  We have a very healthy team that goes to Sweet Green every day and they exercise together.  At other companies where the culture is about drinking and hanging out together after work, that’s great that they all get along, but they’re also really exhausted and quite sick quite regularly.  As a leader, you need to look after yourself and you need to encourage everyone to spend time doing that.

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Take your time hiring and only hire the right people at the right time.

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How can we be smart as female entrepreneurs like you?

Take your time.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  You won’t get there faster if you cut corners.  Every release takes time, so plan ahead knowing that that’s going to happen in terms of your budgeting and team management.  Trying to push a team to release products too quickly will force them to cut corners and you often can’t see that they’re doing that.  With my first company, I was releasing all of the time because I wanted to show growth.  I should have communicated to everyone that we’ll take a little more time, but do it better.  I’ve applied that approach to our existing company and it’s been better culturally.

You spend more time with the people you recruit and work with more than anyone else.  When you go through that hiring process, pull in your existing network (regardless of the field they work in) to help interview and make sure they’re the right people.  Ask questions not just about their previous jobs, but about the way they trouble shoot, the way they think about problems, their aspirations, and how they see the world.  Spend a lot of time in that hiring process and don’t hire someone based solely on their resume.

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It’s not just about hiring, it’s about helping people build their lives. 

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See where the needs are and then have the confidence to act on it.

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Meet Alexandra Keating

Neighborhood: Live in Chelsea + work in Tribeca  

Occupation: CEO + Co-Founder of DWNLD

Women I Admire: My grandmother

Dream Mentor: Warren Buffett

Look of the Season: Max Mara meets Stella McCartney

Favorite Store: Net-a-Porter

Go-to Outfit: Black Out

Must-have Shoes: Saint Laurent - Classic Paris

Favorite Nail Polish: Big Apple Red - OPI

Can't Live Without Product: My iPhone

Salon Recommendation: Sally Hershberger (Chelsea) - Keith for color and Rodrigo for cuts.

Signature Scent: It’s a secret, a woman never shares her scent

Beauty Essential: Centella Recovery Skin Salve by Kielhl’s  

Cocktail of Choice: Espresso Martini

Travel Destination: Bedarra Island  - Australia  

Current Craving: Apple Tart tatin

Best Advice: Keep going

Favorite Quote: 'I'm easily satisfied with the very best' - Churchill

De-Stress Technique: Running

Latest Gadget: Drones of any kind

On My Playlist: Leon Bridges

 

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