If you’ve been following FI news recently, you might recall our announcement of over 1000 graduated companies (the story was covered by Anthony Ha on TechCrunch here). To bring you up to speed, in total, we have launched 1003 companies across 55 cities, 30 countries, and 6 continents, and these companies have created over 10,000 jobs and have an estimate portfolio value of $5 billion.
While 1,000 companies might seem like a gargantuan number (sometimes we even have trouble getting our head around it), the companies we help launch are more than just another notch in our belt. We take pride in getting know our graduates - after all, they are a part of the ever growing FI family.
Instead of doing our usual graduate profile, we wanted to get to know our thousandth graduate a little better, so we sat down for an exclusive interview with Bartos Cañete, Founder and CEO of Pypna.
How does it feel to be connected to a network of over 1,000 Founder Institute Alumni worldwide?
"It is a feeling of security because we know that we can count on a global structure of elite entrepreneurs who we can call if we need assistance or collaboration. This is especially important when a company is beginning to grow and does not have many resources."
Do you have any advice for the next generation of Founder Institute graduates?
"Yes, they shouldn’t expect others to solve their problems. They have to go out and look for opportunities, they have to be extremely proactive with their company and with their work, only in this case they will have a chance to become successful."
What is the most important lesson you learned at FI?
"The 4 month program of the Founder Institute has been one of the most important and enriching professional experiences in my life. If I would not have gone through the semester, my company Pypna would not exist. But thanks to what I've learned from the local directors, the mentors and the colleagues, today my company is a project with many chances of success.
If I had to choose one lesson, it would be that in order to win you have to put in lot of effort, tenacity, perseverance and passion in everything you do. Having a good idea, a great team, seed capital and good advisors is not enough, as long as the entrepreneur does not live for his project. He must be dedicated to his business in body and soul, regardless of time, effort, and the setbacks that may arise along the way."
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
"Take advantage of the help of the local directors and mentors from the first day on."
Tell us about Pypna. What makes it unique to your market in Barcelona?
"What makes us unique is that Pypna.com has invented the term Crowdvisits - we reward artists if they strive hard enough to get visits for their music videos on our platform. They can win the professional production of their song, a professional video of their song or even an album with up to 6 songs and 500 CD’s to give away or sell to their fans. In Pypna.com artists can monetize their effort to succeed, without juries, selections or just randomly."
What is your 'secret sauce'?
"Our Secret Sauce is Crowdvisits. For our clients, the artists, Crowdvisits mean that they can boost their career thanks to their work, effort and quality, without depending on anyone, only on their own effort and the one of their followers. For Pypna, Crowdvisits means that artists bring in the web traffic by themselves stimulated by the awards new offer. Pypna puts at the service of the artists a very powerful technology platform and some very attractive prizes, but who makes that our website has hundreds of thousands of visitors are the artists."
What was the public’s response when you first launched?
"The public response was very good, everybody encouraged us and said that it was a good idea. In February 2013 we launched our first beta version and had an average of 200-300 visits per day with very few videos. In May 2013 we enrolled in the 2nd semester of the Founder Institute in Barcelona and from that moment on began our takeoff."
How long did it take until you were regularly receiving video submissions, and what was your tactic to getting traction so quickly?
"We learned that although our idea was very good and everyone liked it, we had to attract new artists to our platform. We do this through offering the artists a guide on how to get traffic for their video, mainly through social networks, shared traffic, blogs or specialized forums. Up until now Pypna.com has accumulated more than 1,250,000 visits, more than 500,000 unique users from over 100 countries worldwide and we have more than 5,600 followers on social networks."
How does an unknown artist become successful on Pypna?
"First of all, by uploading his video and being prepared to work very hard during the next 12 months with our proven method and strategy. If an artist follows our advice, works on a daily basis promoting his video, he will become successful, guaranteed."
FI CEO, Adeo Ressi, does a mean version of Michael Jackson's Thriller. Do you think he would do well on Pypna?
(We didn't actually ask this question, but in all seriousness, you'd vote for him, right?).
From the Pypna website, we see that there are three levels of prizes. Has anyone earned Prize 3?
"Yes, 'Kassia' a Rock&Roll band. 4 more artists have managed to get award 1 and 2. These are 'Empty Dots', 'Ana Haro', 'Irala' and 'Stop in Berlin'. All of them are on track to meet goal # 3."
What is the most exciting part of working at Pypna?
"Without a doubt, the most exciting part is working with new, promising music artists. It is very rewarding to work with talented people that have high quality, work hard and sacrifice an important part of their lives to achieve success. It is very exciting to see fulfilled their dream to become professional music artists."
What are Pypna’s plans for the future?
"Now that we have secured funding from "friends and family" our immediate goal is to attract new artists and develop new services that will help them to win more easily their prizes. A big issue is our business model, which is mainly based on publicity. We need to increase the monetization of services.
Once we have achieved these goals, we then can go to professional investors and ask them for their money to expand our services on an international basis. After Spain, we plan to open up Pypna in the United States, where we already have about one third of our traffic. By the end of 2014, we want to open Pypna to new content such as humor, sports and literature.
Ultimately, we want to convert Pypna into the largest producer of new talent all around the world. Our vision is that within a few years, anyone who wants to become a professional artist thinks of Pypna as his first option to get the job done. At Pypna.com we know that success only depends on you."
To learn more about Pypna, visit their website Pypna.com and follow them on Twitter for news and updates. Pypna is a graduate of the Barcelona Founder Institute, which is currently accepting applications for the upcoming Winter Semester. Click here to learn more.