“I Was Fed Up with Ignorant Traditional Investors and Then I Learned About ICOs” – The Story of Aleks Bozhinov, Co-Founder & CMO at Crowdholding
He had failures in launching startups and had to leave the international logistics sector. He worked in sales and then got invited by Google to develop online marketing strategies. By today, he is one of the founders of the successful company and a trusted advisor for blockchain businesses and ICO projects. He is the Co-Founder & CMO at Crowdholding – Aleks Bozhinov.
We have talked with Aleks about his early work experience, career in Google, believes about blockchain industry and his company’s future plans.
I was helping businesses to achieve success in the online world
Before encountering the exciting world of blockchain, I’ve been actively engaged in making businesses successful online. Numerous companies still lack the minimum to perform at the age of digital and mobile. My aim was to educate entrepreneurs and give them tools to achieve better ROI from their Online Marketing campaigns.
I focused on improving business performance through Growth Hacking and not through increased marketing spending. By promoting Agile Innovation and Growth Hacking in startups, I’ve helped hundreds of businesses to be successful online without significant marketing budget.
I was tired of ignorant investors, and then I discovered ICOs
Just like any other business owner, while being involved in entrepreneurial ventures, I’ve had to raise capital to pursue my dream. After hundreds of meetings with investors from different countries and backgrounds, I can honestly say that I wish I could have avoided the whole experience. There have been positive meetings, however, most of them are literally a waste of time.
The struggle to raise capital the traditional way was real. I’ve received different excuses as to why the investment talks that lasted over 6 months wouldn’t end up positively. To put it shortly, I was fed up with ignorant traditional investors that couldn’t be straightforward from the beginning.
So, I started looking around to find new ways of raising capital. First, I experimented with crowdfunding on traditional platforms like Kickstarter. Eventually, I got to know about ICO as a funding strategy and it fascinated me as a concept because it fixed issues that non-blockchain crowdfunding websites had.
My interaction with customers in previous jobs helped me with my blockchain career
I believe that my earlier work experience in marketing and sales, where I had to interact with customers and the community on a daily basis, has played a significant role in my career in blockchain today.
I’ve learned that many claim to be customer-centric, but fail to deliver an experience to back this claim. Blockchain will allow marketers to own the full-customer experience and build customer-centric products, while rewarding the most engaged community members.
My university education, in its turn, has played a miniscule role in my blockchain career. However, it has allowed me to make the comparison between now and then, to learn about the mistakes of the past in order not to repeat them.
Starting a career at Google is like getting a Ferrari as a first car
Talking about my experience in Google, after I was approached by the corporation via mail about a vacancy in their Dublin office, I went through 6 interviews and did not hesitate once I received an offer to start working for them.
My duties were to advance the online marketing strategy for media and PPC agencies, large and small advertisers in Bulgaria. While working with hundreds of customers every quarter, I was responsible for selling AdWords as a solution while improving the client’s online marketing strategy at the same time.
During the first week in the company, we had trainings organised by staff members from different departments. One such person told us that starting one’s career at Google is like getting a Ferrari as your first car. It doesn’t get better than that. Truly, his words remained in my memory and have proven to be largely true.
When I’ve worked for Google, there was a culture of inclusiveness and transparency which amazed me. Everyone was competitive and eager to prove themselves, but at the same time remained humble and open to share. This type of internal culture is probably one of the big reasons why the company remains one of the best employers in the world.
Missed deadlines, unsuccessful launches and poor interaction – I had failures
I believe that one of the most common issues that every entrepreneur faces is deciding whether to outsource IT development or bring it in-house. In my experience, I’ve failed when I tried to outsource this work. Various factors can be attributed to the reasons for these failures, but mainly it was the misalignment between the freelancers and the team that led to missed deadlines and unsuccessful launches. Keeping IT in-house allows people to interact with cross-team members, thus ensuring larger understanding of the overall strategy and state of business.
Outside of the tech field, I’ve had ventures that involved shipping hardware and I’ve been shocked by the amount of bureaucracy in the international logistics sector. It seemed like the rules were set-up in a way to favor large organisations and punish small enterprises. Expenses associated with inventory and customs cost my company dearly and influenced my decision to leave that sector.
Crowd wisdom is the part of my company’s success
As for Crowdholding, my role there is to attract new potential users and increase the business demand for our platform. I don’t personally work with the clients, but I get involved when there is a need.
I’m fascinated by my company’s progress which can partially be attributed to the crowd wisdom and knowledge ecosystem that we have in place. Using crowd intelligence to innovate and validate ideas saved us hundreds of labour hours and made us closer with our community.
My company plans to work with Mercedes-Benz and NASA in the future
We recently partnered with the Crowdsourcing Week and plan to bring the first companies outside the blockchain sector to Crowdholding. I believe they can make use of crowd wisdom to make better decisions while building customer-centric solutions based on the community’s feedback. Some large names like Carlsberg, Mercedes-Benz, NASA & others are among the potential new projects that could make use of the knowledge ecosystem on Crowdholding in the near future.
I will change the client focus and the product itself. My company expects to launch a business-favorable crowdfunding module on our platform, allowing businesses to raise capital from loyal followers. This way, we will fill the gap between crowdsourcing and crowdfunding.
Lastly, there are going to be positive changes to the token model that will boost the value of the YUP token. We are currently working with tokenomics specialists and economics professor to improve the YUP cycle and deliver outstanding value to token holders in 2019.
I am persistent and believe in blockchain so common unawareness won’t stop me
I believe the blockchain industry is still young, and ignorance persists even in younger audiences. The large number of failed and scam projects have pushed the public away from this sector and toward the space where they are unwilling to listen further once the word “blockchain” or “ICO” is mentioned.
Although blockchain technology is being embraced by the largest organisations in the world, majority of people do not see the benefits and tend to focus on the negatives. Constantly facing such push-back is tiring and can demotivate most of the people, but I tend to be persistent and I’m a believer, so ignorance cannot stop me.
Aleks Bozhinov will be a speaker at the Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Switzerland and will talk about the decentralized applications.