July 21, 2022

From creating the Uber for service professionals to growing Hypefury

From creating the Uber for service professionals to growing Hypefury

Hey ICL fans. Today we’re chatting with Yannick Veys, co-founder of Hypefury. Hypefury is a powerful scheduling tool for social media, particularly Twitter. But before Yannick began growing Hypefury, he co-created a Dutch startup that was the Uber for service professionals and sold it. He also has successfully created multiple websites that bring in streams of Adsense income from Google. 

If you’re wanting to elevate your marketing skills especially when it comes to marketing a startup, this is the episode for you. Let’s dive in.

Show highlights:

-   0:30 – how Hypefury was formed

-   2:05 – how Yannick met Sammy (founder of Hypefury)

-   3:35 – initial things to focus on to get traction

-   5:10 –Uber for service professionals – how he grew it

-   8:00 – I like showing what results people can get from your product

-   10:03 – other things people like about Hypefury

-   11:35 – the time Yannick got fired

-   13:50 – the Science of Happiness course from Berkeley

-   15:05 – passive income

-   16:45 – the attractive celebrity Yannick would set his phone’s wallpaper to

-   17:15 – something weird that Yannick obsesses about

-   18:12 – skills that Yannick is really good at

-   20:10 – where people can learn more about Yannick


Hey, you're listening to innovators can laugh. The fun startup podcast. I'm your host, Eric notcher on ICO. We interview an innovative entrepreneur in the European tech startup scene. Every week. My goal is to have my guests share their wisdom or having a little fun in the process. Now let's dive in. Hey, ICL fans today, we're chatting with Y be's co-founder of hype furry.

Hypefury is a powerful scheduling tool for social. Particularly for Twitter. I actually use it, but before Yonic began growing high, Purey he co-created a Dutch startup. That was the Uber for service professionals. And so did, he also has successfully created multiple websites that bring in streams of bad sense income from Google.

If you're wanting to elevate your marketing skills, especially when it comes to marketing a startup, this is the episode for you. Let's dive. All right, Yik. So hype furry, I've been using this tool. I don't know for about three or four months. I like it. I think it's a great scheduling tool for social media, particularly Twitter.

I found out it because people were talking about it on Twitter and I like it. I like that. You know, that you can actually have evergreen posts. I like the auto pluck post that it peer after a certain amount of. So, how did you get the idea for hype furry? Just tell us about that origin story. Yeah.

Yeah. So I, I actually didn't like create hype fury. I would, I, I met the founder when he built it. I don't know, a couple months in, so Sammy actually, what he did, he, he tweeted like, Hey, is there actually a scheduling tool that let you schedule threads? And there were none back then. This was like over two years.

and he was in a couple of communities because he was into fitness coaching and all these people were using Twitter and they were like, Hey, you have to build this. This is, this is great. I wanna schedule threads. I can't right now I can only use it, the Twitter interface and just it's it. It sucks. So you started building, I, I.

Took him a couple of days or weeks, not even weeks, I think, ah, couple of days to build like the MVP so he could schedule a tweet and a threat. And that was it. And he was in all these communities with these Twitter hotshots who had a lot of followers and he just plucked it there and they all loved it.

He started a closed beta. Yeah. And that he just kept building features. People wanted, and yeah. Now where we started with like a vanilla scheduler, we're now yeah. A tool that gets you more inspiration. It, it allows you to create better content. And once you had that content out also allows you to just get more engagement, get more newsletter subscriber.

So it's, it's, it's a lot more than it was a couple years ago where, where it just was a scheduling tool. Okay. Now, how did you guys meet obviously on Twitter or is that how you met Sam? No, no, actually not. So I sold my startup six months to a year before we met. So as I was on, I was back doing some contracting work and I was on, on the loop.

I wasn't gonna be my next thing. I was thinking, yeah. Do we wanna start something or do we wanna help grow something? And I was on the indie Heckers forum, just browsing. I did that. Like. Once a week. And I went to the growth section or the partner section and people advertise saying, Hey, I'm, I'm looking for a co-founder, I'm either a tech guy looking for a marketing person or a marketing person for tech.

And so Sam was one of the people who posted, he showed his product, that there was a little bit of traction and I just reached out and said to them, Hey, I'm pretty good at marketing. I, I. Love to get to meet you see you for a match. So I flew to Paris stayed there for the weekend. You know, we just had had food and, and, and drinks and enjoyed ourselves and, you know, got, got to know each other a little bit.

And yeah, we, we decided I would like do a quote unquote internship, a marketing internship. So I would just show Sammy that I was. Not full of shit, but I could also literally grow business, which I did, you know our Mr. Grew nicely and after a couple of months we became business partners. Okay. Yeah.

still, still doing that ever since now. What were some of the first things that you started focusing on in order to grow high free in order to get some more traction? Yeah, so I, I was, I was looking at like different price points. So back then we only had the software, which. I felt like $9. So it's pretty cheap.

And we had a 29 or $39 premium plan. And I was looking at, well, there are people who just have a lot more money, this they wanna grow faster. So let's start a not, not even a growth course, but like a do it with you. Cohort. So I started reaching out to people. We started opening up a, a course where people could sign up and we'd have different tires to help people grow.

So you'll have like a almost self serve. So where we'd give you a more info, we we'd dive into your profile, get you tips on how to tweet your bio, stuff like that. And we'd have like a full service thing where we write tweets for you, change your bio, engage for you, stuff like that. And so. That grew our Mr.

Very nicely. That was one of the things I did. And then I just, I immediately started doing SEO. I knew that wouldn't take off for months to come, but right now we're, we're we have like hundreds of thousands of organic search visits every year. And that's old because I started a couple years back building content, you know, and, and since then, We've started doing a lot of email marketing, a lot of other stuff.

Yeah. That's that's part I do. Okay. So you have this on your track record voting a startup selling yet. And then now you're growing hype furry. I'm kind of curious, like what's an important truth about growing a startup that people might disagree with you when it comes to marketing question? Well, like my, my first startup, I, I think a lot of people they can build like a huge.

Product billing it for a year and then launched to the public. What we did was literally you built an MVP for one month. It was like Uber for service professionals. That was my first, first startup. And what we did was we created a, a, a, yeah, a small MVP. The first thing we did was we went to like the biggest city here in of Amsterdam.

We got. A couple of service professionals. We had no clue what would be like the hit. We just had, you know, an electrician, a handyman, a plumber as somebody who could do, you know, ver control, stuff like that. And we had no idea what we Rob against, what kind of categories we perform well. So I just started a Google Edwards campaign.

Bid on a bunch of keywords and we just, you know, made, made a couple of wagers, what category would be the first job. And it was like, it was like, I don't know, wasps taking out a wasp nest somewhere. That was like the first job . But there was, and there wasn't no way, like the most important category after like we've been doing it for like three, six months, like.

Plumbing and electrician. So you really need to test your assumptions. But in fact, we, we started like broad in a very small area, so we could test see what, what worked. And then once we knew what the hot categories were, we just did the same thing in all the major cities in Netherlands. And then we went to Belgium and then, yeah, so, so.

Were you bootstrapping this at the time? Or, or were you raising funds for this? Well, we were with three partners, like the two guys who were working in the business. That was me and my co-founder and another guy. He didn't do anything, but he had some cash. So he was putting in 5k a month to keep us afloat.

And we were, you know, doing everything with that 5k. And then, you know, once funds started coming in from like the jobs we were. We had more money to spend in marketing, hire people, stuff like that. And after, I don't know, I think about a year that's when we raised our first round. Okay. And before you sold it, what was the Mr.

On, on this question? We did, I don't know, two, 3 million ARR, something like that. Okay. All right now hype for, or are you guys also, is this been primarily bootstrapped or have you raised any, any investment for this? No. No, it's all self-funded bootstrapped. However you wanna call. Okay. Okay. All right. Now I saw this post that you did on LinkedIn and we're still sticking with marketing here.

Yonic you said marketing isn't the most valuable startup skill creating something people talk about is okay. Why do you think this and how have you been able to get people talking about hype free? Yeah, that's a good question. So a lot of, a lot of, you know, like vanilla E eco stores, or you have a lot of businesses that think, well, marketing can solve our problem.

Well, that's, that's usually not the case. You just, you need a very good product and then it's a lot easier for marketing to get people to talk about you. And so. I, I, I genuinely don't like selling our product. I like to show what people, what kind of results people get with it. And yeah, if, if you listen to your audience, but not necessarily always bill what they want, but think a little bit ahead, like, I know people wanna grow their email list, but it's, it's hard to do that on Twitter.

Why, what can we think of that will help them grow their email list? And if we build cool automation, features, people are talking about that because it works. And because. You have those auto blogs. If you have a tweet that does well, we auto comment something you you've prewritten you get a bunch of email subscribers and people, people love that.

You know, it's just on, on, on autopilot, same with like auto auto DMS. You created lead magnet. You shared it on Twitter saying, Hey, I created something for free. Just reply with, I don't know something and we'll DM you the link and that works perfectly. So your now goes on autopilot and yeah, we could do a lot of marketing there, a lot of push marketing, but people are, yeah.

Just incentivized to talk about that because it's, it works so well at a product. That's good. And that's why people know, want to talk about it. That's awesome. So in the beginning, people were talking about, Hey, you can use this tool for threads. And then I found out it because of the auto plug feature.

Right. I think that got my curiosity and that's why I checked it out. And that's why I use it. Now. Is there another feature that people talk about high furry about that they get excited? Well, I think like recurrent posts is pretty, like, I think it's a very powerful feature, but not many people use it.

How it works is literally, usually when people create content, they create content in for one particular niche or category, you know, I'm, I'm, I've just read a book about marketing. I don't know, building a story brand. I'm going to create tweets based off that book, but instead of just creating, I don't know, 10, 20 tweets about that book, I I'll, I can put them in a recurrent post, create a category and say every Monday, At 9:00 AM.

I'm gonna tweet something about that book. And now you have 10 or 20 weeks worth of content, which also gets recycled. So when those tower 20 tweets have been posted, we start at the first one again. And so in, you know, 10 or 20 weeks, a lot of people won't have remembered that you posted tweet and you've gotten a lot more new followers.

So they won't won't even have seen that tweet. So you're literally, you're automating your timeline. And the funny thing is that the more you do. The more traction you get. So in the beginning I thought, well, I don't know if this is gonna work, but I use it myself for marketing tips and stuff like that.

And I keep getting more and more engagement with post I've tweeted, I don't know, like six months or a year, I go for the first time. So that really works as well. now you haven't always been an entrepreneur. I understand that you actually got fired from a job one time and this opened your eyes into entrepreneurship.

Do you you care to share that story and what happened? Yeah. Yeah. So I was, I was employed by a business. That like outsources management, trainee ships. And so I was outsourced to like a big bank. I knew that was, that was the deal. But I hated working at that bank. And what they did was say, well, you have to, you have a fixed contract here.

You have to stay here for one half years at that bank. You can't go anywhere else. And I was like, I really hat in here. I don't want, I don't wanna stay here, please. You. Let me go to another place, but they had a contract with that bank, of course. And they wanted to keep people, well, what was wrong with the bank?

I mean, was it just a boring job or what? Well, I was, it was a bit more, it focused a lot less marketing focus. So I just, I didn't like it, it was, it was a lot of financial stuff and it was just, it was really, I thought it was really boring. I wanted to be closer to where reaction was people marketing.

That was, that was a lot more me. But I only found that out when I started doing the job, of course. And so I, I, I told the bank that I just wasn't happy and the bank wasn't my employer, of course. So they reached out to my employer, said, Hey, this guy here unique, he doesn't really like working here. What, why are we gonna do so I was, I was breaching a contract.

I had to pay like a a like a tuition fee because it was. A whole program behind that. So I had to pay more money in the tuition fee than I earned the whole, the entire time was employed there. But the, the great thing is I, I think, I, I know in the six months after I got fired, I think I earned more money than, than the, the tuition fee I had to pay.

So, and that was because I, I opened my eyes, I got into contact with a lot of different people. I went into digital marketing and yeah, it just, that, that. What opened my eyes to just a different world and yeah. To become an entrepreneur. No, not, not long after that. Okay. Okay. I also saw somewhere on your, on your profile that in 2019, you, I'm not sure if this is a certification or a degree, but something from the university of California, Berkeley, the science of happiness.

What is. Why did you do this course? And what is this course about Yik? Yeah, it's, it's actually a free course from from Berkeley. Yeah, basically it, it just teaches you, what are the aspects of a happy life now, if it was three years ago, but it's like, you know, spend time with your family. Don't overdo.

Work. Yeah. I, I can't remember all the theory, but basically it was just giving you like interesting ideas and, and concepts and, and, and research on, you know, what a happy person does and what, what are things that, you know, if you feel shit you shouldn't do okay. Now, have you designed your life for happiness?

So like, are there any life hacks that you have worked for? Recently. Well, after I got fired, I started working at a digital marketing agency and everybody was doing a side business there. So in the, literally I know it was the first week, but definitely in the second week I started my side business as well.

And we, we all just created like websites, different, small, different projects that got in passive income. And like the first month I, I started a website, I had, I dunno, I had like 15 cents of, of a sense income and that just kept on growing. So the second one, it was. $10. And then it, it went up to like four or 5k a month.

And literally, I didn't, I didn't have to work anymore. I didn't have to work anymore. And so that was a really important part of my life. And I've, I've cont I still have like a hundred websites that give me passive income. And so that gave me a lot of freedom. I don't need to work full time. I can, I can choose to work less.

And now my, my wife, she, she has a hernia. So I have to do a lot more at home. I have to bring the kids to school, pick 'em up, do a lot more in the household. So. Because of, yeah, that design, I did a couple of years back saying, Hey, I wanna, I wanna have passive income. I now have, you know, a much more relaxed life, even though I, I, I have a little bit more on my shoulders because my wife is yeah.

Out for, for the next couple weeks. yeah. Plus the kids. Right. I mean, the kids at 24 7, it's a job that never ends. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Hopefully, hopefully one day they'll they'll move out and that's gotta take a, take a while. Still. Okay. Okay. Now for some fun questions, these are quirky questions that kind of reveal your personality for the audience.

The first question for you Yami is what attractive celebrity would you set your phone's wallpaper to? Okay. What attractive celebrity would you set your phone's wallpaper to? That's good. It's, it's a, a Dutch model. I don't know how you pronounce her name in, in English, but do Cruz. And I think she's, she's really a very good looking lady.

Okay. I would, I would, I would set my, my background to that. All right. All right. Next question for you. What's something weird that you obsess about something weird or obsessed about? Yeah, I, I don't have a lot of obsessions. That's, that's probably, that's probably maybe the weird thing. I, I literally I'm really down to earth guy.

Like my, my wife, she can obsess about the smallest things like yesterday. We had to like create like a WhatsApp group to invite the kids to. My son's birthday party and she can take an hour to how, how do I word this? Am I this? Okay. And I'm like, just, just send a message. Don't don't worry. I'm like, yeah.

So that's probably weird thing. I, I don't, I don't freak out at all, you know? And then, yeah. That's, I dunno if that's a good or bad thing, but just, just. Okay. And last question for you. What's one thing that you're really good at probably better than most people, especially when it comes to like growing a startup or in digital marketing.

Yeah. I, I think my, my real skills are like probably the SEO stuff and the PPC thing. So I'm, I'm, I'm really good at looking, you know, when, when, when I got on board at high fury, I immediately looked at okay, like what are the important keywords? What do we need to focus on right now? Which. Get us, you know, some search traffic in one or two years time.

I know that there's like a lot of competition, some, some keywords. So we needed to start two years ago for it to now bring us the fruits of, of our labor. So yeah, I've, I've been doing that for like, I don't know, 12, 15 years now. So I I'm pretty, pretty experienced in, in doing that. Which tools do you use for that?

HFS search console, Google analytics, mostly that. And I go to like a conference at least once a year. It's called search law. It's in, in London where a lot of people talk about not only search, but also search and, and CRO and analytics, stuff like that. So to keep to a little bit of my. Knowledge base up to speed, cuz I used to like really dive into blogs and, and YouTube videos.

But right now, just to a, a two day conference to just get everything over in, in short period of time. Yeah. For Hy fur, I'm just curious how many people are in the company right now? About 20, I think we have seven, eight people in a marketing team right now. We have I think six, seven devs. We have a couple people doing customer success and then some, some people who are.

On and awesome designers and then other people. Yeah. Yeah. The onboarding process to me was, was awesome. I think there was like 10 steps and I remember going through 'em and I just thought, wow, this is really amazing. Very good experience being, you know, in the onboard Janique, where can people learn more about you?

Yeah. So you can go to hifu.com for. Our business and unique on the score advice. Maybe you could put that in the show notes because it's impossible for people to to decide for that on, on Twitter. All right. Will do Yani. Thanks so much for being on innovators can laugh for everybody listening. This is ya.

Unique vest co-founder of hype furry. . Thanks ya. Thanks Matt. Thanks. It's been a blast. Thank you. All right. Thanks everybody for tuning in. Feel free to tell letters about the podcast, help us grow and always listen to, to myself@innovatorslaugh.com, where you could hear more, more entrepreneurs and innovators from the European tech space.

Cheers. What a great conversation with unique he's somebody that's infinitely curious. The story and how he met the co-founder of hype fur by stumbling onto a thread he read in and read it, and then flying to Paris to meet with them, to see if there was a. And then doing an internship to prove that he'd help grow the company.

Pretty amazing. What I also enjoyed is hearing his ability to do experiments in order to find ways to drive more revenue like he did when creating a special cohort for valuable hype fur users or when he was looking for the ideal segment for his first. The other thing I love hearing about was how he puts himself in the user's shoes.

Like imagining what problems users are facing and once solved, which led to creating features in hype furry, that help people bail their email list. What a talented entrepreneur I've included links from this show on the ICO website in newsletter. It's number 55. If you forgot, and if you enjoy this topic, feel free to give us a review@lovethepodcast.com slash ICO as always.

Thanks for listening. Keep hustling out there. And this is Eric signing off. Thanks for listening to the show. If you enjoyed it, I'd really appreciate it. If you could give us a review and star rating, also, don't forget to sign up for the ICO newsletter at innovators, laugh.com, where you can get the bio and details of each guest.