Just last week, StartupYard made final selections for SY 2016/2, our 7th round of acceleration overall, and 2nd in 2016.
With each round, we invite brand new investors, with new perspectives and experiences, to get involved with StartupYard as investors. This year we’re pleased to welcome Michal Hradil, Founder and CEO of Hyperia, a highly successful online marketing agency based in Slovakia. Hyperia, founded in 2013, focuses on lead generation, performance marketing, and affiliate marketing.
Hi Michal, tell us a bit about yourself and your experience founding Hyperia. How did you get into online marketing? Where are you planning to go, business-wise, in the future?
I got into online marketing during my university studies. Working as an attendant in a copy center, I had plenty of time to browse the Internet. I found out I could earn more money by buying and selling domain names. So I gave it a try and it worked. And here is where it all began. I broadened my horizons about affiliate marketing, lead generation and ended up founding Hyperia.
What have been some of your favorite, or most successful projects at Hyperia? Do you have any interesting failures to talk about?
A: Our biggest achievement is, I think, that Hyperia, facing a very strong competition, became a leader in lead generation in financial sector within the Czech Republic and Slovakia which are two really competitive markets. Inevitably, we have made lots of mistakes. The one, I can easily describe, turned up when our webpages didn’t work for visitors using IPV6 connection. Having IPV4, we didn’t realize it and the mistake cost us around 30k euros.
What makes Hyperia different from an average marketing agency? What is unique about your approach to your field?
Creativity brought even into more conservative segments and marketing psychology are our two biggest strengths.
In addition, we have never worked for individual clients. We are paid for tangible results by our partners so we must be really efficient in what we’re doing and we are able to achieve results the following day after making a deal. But specializing in our own projects also means that the success or failure are in our hands.
As an entrepreneur, how has the landscape changed in Slovakia (or Czechia), during your career? What have been the most important changes from your perspective?
A: In my opinion, it is more difficult to start any business without initial capital these days. The competition is very strong and the price of manpower has gone up. It means you should do more if you want to succeed.
On the other hand, information is made more available and there are much more opportunities. It is more simple to build a global business from the Czech Republic than ever before and people have more skills and experience with global products. Finding an investor became much easier as well.
You recently became a StartupYard investor. What got you interested in investing in startups, and why did you choose to invest through us? Have you invested directly in any startups before?
I do have some experience in the field. In case of StartupYard, I find your concept – to participate in something new – quite interesting. I also wanted to have a well-diversified portfolio and invest part of my earnings into startups.
As an investor, what do you hope to gain from your experience with StartupYard (other than a profit of course)?
Frankly speaking, it is more about me being able to see how the system works in details and to get first-hand information. I will be glad if I earn some money but I am keeping in mind that it might be the most expensive course I have ever taken :). I accept the risk.
How do you think you are uniquely suited to mentoring and advising early stage companies? What part of your own experience will most benefit our startups?
A: I think I keep track of marketing. I understand how PPC, ux, affiliate, domains, SEO and traffic acquisition work – I have experience with all of them. I was used to getting a lot of bang for the buck. From the point of view of marketing, there are no obstacles but challenges for me.