“I am an artist with a tech background,” Florin Grozea, founder of the influencer marketing platform MOCAPP, and the eCommerce app L!NK, revealed at the beginning of the interview. He has recently raised a €300K funding round to take the spin-off to the UK market, and support businesses to save time and budget wisely when developing campaigns.
“My career has always been at the crossroads between creativity and technology,” he continues about his passion for computers and programming since high school. At the age of 16, he co-founded the Hi-Q music group, and that’s when he began his entrepreneurial journey.
Naming, branding, communication, and budgeting popped up on his artist-entrepreneur to-do list. And although his music career remains a fine memory of the past, he continues to find, create, and apply technological innovations that bring value to everybody’s lives.
In the interview below, Florin Grozea shares with The Recursive his tech founder journey so far, what he is targeting next, the importance of the influencer industry, which is valued at €13B worldwide, and why the future will be blockchain-based.
The Recursive: What inspired the launch of MOCAPP in 2017?
Florin Grozea: It all started with a never-endless chart that I used to manage celebrities’ campaigns on social media. The table became so thick that I needed a way to search and filter that database.
This led me to build the minimal software (MVP) and take it to the agencies for a test. The feedback from over 50 agency professionals was incredible. An agency manager even told me, “You’re going to be a billionaire with this idea.”
In 2019, we officially launched the MOCAPP platform – an online application that helps companies and agencies to discover influencers and collaborate with them to implement online campaigns. Since then, over 1300 influencers and content creators have joined from nine countries.
How did the L!NK spin-off follow?
After hundreds of campaigns run through the MOCAPP platform, we discovered a type of client who has specific needs and whose niche has exploded in the pandemic: online stores.
Unlike multinational brands or advertising agencies, online stores are focused on conversions and often have in-house marketing departments. So, we concentrated on these needs with a new App.
The goal is for online stores to discover daily what influencers they have on the customer base. Who better to talk about your product than your customers?
L!NK helps eCommerce businesses with an algorithm unique in Europe. This scans store orders to discover customers who are popular on social media. Spontaneous reviews have the greatest credibility, especially when they come naturally from well-known people – opinion leaders, influencers, and content creators.
What attracted you to the influencers’ niche?
People need real stories, they want to know that there, somewhere, there is someone like them.
In the online communication of 2022, authentic stories weigh heavily in the public’s decision to follow and consume a brand. When everything around you is moving sand, you need security and inspiration from someone you trust. At the center of the virtual tribe are those opinion leaders called Influencers. They are vital to our society, more than ever.
What are the benefits of using influencer marketing tools that entrepreneurs should know about?
When you are at the beginning of the road, you need to stand out in your industry. The simplest, but not easy to do, is to associate with a personal brand already known and respected in your industry. People, meaning your potential buyers, are looking for other humans, not brands.
Tools are important because they cut the time and the cost of marketing.
From our statistics, MOCAPP decreases the costs of an influencer campaign by 45% to 70%! And this is an important discount in any business.
How can one measure the success of an influencer campaign?
Short answer: Hire an expert!
Long answer: Influencer Marketing is part of the Marketing strategy of a brand, it is located at the crossroad between PR (which is measured with specific variables), branding (which is measured with other variables), and advertising (ditto, other variables). All entrepreneurs want a profit at the end of the year, so they watch the sales.
But the influencer is not a seller, the employees in the sales department are your sellers!
The influencer draws attention to your brand, makes a positive image association, creates relevant content for your consumers, and gives you access to relevant communities of buyers.
So, you need to measure:
- the traffic;
- the rise in brand awareness;
- the impact of the content;
- and the visibility – it’s not easy, but it is worth it.
What resources helped you raise MOCAPP?
I had mentors like Dragos Stanca, Iulian Padurariu, and Catalin Chis. I was part of two accelerators: Techcelerator and Innov-X. We took advantage of the support of the influencers and managers community. We raised two rounds of investment from the SeedBlink platform. It takes a village to raise a startup.
What are MOCAPP’s goals for the next 12 months?
We plan to break the ice in the British market with L!NK.
This fall we are launching L!NK in the UK. We raised money from two investment funds (ROCA X and NETOPIA Ventures), to which 60 private investors were added through SeedBlink.
What are your thoughts on how Web 3.0 technologies, such as blockchain, will influence the entertainment industry? Where are the biggest opportunities?
Blockchain will fundamentally change human society, even more than the Internet.
Those who think that token speculation in the crypto market is the only thing brought about by blockchain remind me of those who believed that PCs are only for storing recipes on the kitchen counter. I am passionate about the future of NFT in the Creator Economy and eCommerce.
Even if we’ve seen the potential of using blockchain (e.g. tokenized digital art, smart contracts), adoption is still slow in the local market. Where do you see the biggest obstacles that are slowing down the uptake of blockchain solutions in the entertainment and marketing industries?
It does not seem to me that blockchain adoption is slow. We are talking about a technology that is less than a decade old – that is less than a millisecond in the history of humanity. Have patience, please, we are still early!
The music industry has always been an opaque one, an industry that has taken advantage of its lack of transparency and friction. It is natural for showbiz (entertainment industry leaders) to oppose the transparency brought by the blockchain. We talked a lot about copyright innovation in the Stakeborg Talks podcast.
Can you share any plans to integrate Web 3.0 technologies in your work as an entrepreneur, and at MOCAPP?
First of all, in June 2022, we announced that we are working on an initiative called I.AM – an Influencers Academy for the Metaverse. It is a Web3 education initiative dedicated to influencers, content creators, and artists.
Secondly, as an entrepreneur and marketing expert, I started working with various Web3 startups as an advisor – Ludo, the NFT search engine, is one of them.