John Fearon is a lifelong entrepreneur. His 33 years have taken him from selling sweets as a child, to global digital marketing, to founding Dropmyemail.com, one of the fastest growing cloud companies today. Dropmyemail is his third digital/cloud start-up in two years. His first was EatAds, an outdoor advertising platform. His second was Dropmysite, a cloud service to back up websites.
John Fearon will be discussing on Startup Growth and Scaling at Echelon 2012. Highlighting questions like What are key metrics that startups use in measuring growth? to What are key strategies in scaling/growing your startup once the product is launched? catch him live in discussion.
South-African born and Singapore-based, his earlier professional years were spent in internet marketing and e-commerce, providing consulting and services in the travel and entertainment sectors, including for Hilton Hotels UK. He then worked with global bank HSBC Offshore as Head of Online Marketing. He later worked as Head of Marketing for Asiarooms.com, an online booking portal with 60 million visitors a year.
It seems that you are passionate about marketing. What was the three top valuable things you learnt about digital marketing so far?
The three most valuable things I learnt about digital marketing are: [i] measure performance [ii] find untapped value [iii] stand out from the crowd.
What made you start your new company?
I wanted to make my mark on the universe and thought that Singapore would be an ideal place from which to make this happen. I got into Dropmysite through my earlier business venture, www.EatAds.com, an online marketplace for buying and selling outdoor advertising, I encountered a damaging website crash. Important data was lost and brought much ire from clients – it also became apparent that was no existing service that backs up websites.
So the idea of backing up websites was born to fulfill the demand and I started Dropmysite in September 2011. The next brain wave for me was when a client asked if he could also back up his emails. I realized that there also were no providers of this service and the email market is much bigger. We launched Dropmyemail at DEMOasia on March 1st ’12; three months and 650k users later, here we are.
Having someone focusing on the product will help us develop and iterate on the product at a rapid rate. Vinny’s analytics and data background will allow us to spot trends easily and leverage on those, and at the same time we can spot weaknesses in our product and fix those before they have an impact on user acquisition. As we become confident in our product offering, we can start to target and test in more markets.
You have a dream of backing up the entire web, what are the major challenges for this and how is Dropmysite poised to overcome it?
Our biggest challenge is convincing users to give us their precious data. To date we have successfully launched two products with a third one coming soon (mobile & web App for merged email, chat, calendar, and contacts). We have a clear roadmap for future products that will back up increasing amounts of vital data for individuals and corporations. We believe with time the business will become recognized and trusted.
As a young company, what was the hardest challenge did you overcome, and what was the learning takeaway from it?
Raising our initial funding was obviously difficult but we learnt that once you have a product and some traction investors are far more willing to buy into your vision to make your dreams come true. An interesting side note, we were turned down initially by almost all our existing investors but were able to turn them around by showing them excellent traction.
John Fearon (Founder & CEO of DropMySite) is one of the awesome speakers at Echelon 2012. This tech conference is a two-day, double-track event on 11 and 12 June 2012 with over 1,100 delegates, a demo pit of up to 50 regional startups per day and various workshops. Get your tickets now!