Five students from North Macedonia raised more than €400K for developing a marketing tool for the American social network Reddit, the biggest aggregator of online communities. It is called Howitzer and it is primarily intended for entrepreneurs, startups, and growth hackers.
The tool enables finding and targeting potential Reddit customers and their direct contact, resulting in 40-45% average response rate and excellent conversion rate.
Launched in March 2021, last month, Howitzer, closed its first pre-seed round by raising €400K, from leading investors such as Budapest-based Day One Capital, and business angels Mergim Cahani, founder and CEO of Albanian search engine and content platform Gjiraffa, and Matei Pavel from Romanian-based Konk Media.
“While traditional online ads are becoming more expensive and less effective due to ad fatigue and using blockers, Howitzer shows a fresh way to reach audiences in a personalized and authentic way at scale. Using Reddit metadata, the algorithm understands which users are part of your potential audience, extracts them and sets up personalized direct message campaigns.” Bernat Nasca from Day One Capital wrote in a Medium post.
Howitzer plans to use the funds from this investment round for the expansion of its team, product completion, and growth and marketing.
How to nail community marketing
In an interview with The Recursive, Howitzer’s co-founder and CEO, computer science engineer Nikola Velkovski explains how the team came up with the idea for the marketing tool.
“Before working on Howitzer, we worked on a mobile application called Beermoney, which aimed to aggregate microtasks from the most popular platforms, and enable the operation of several platforms at once, via mobile phone. After we finished Beermoney MVP, we decided to launch it, and Reddit seemed like the best place, as there are 2-3 subreddits related to this topic, with several million members who were our potential customers,” Velkovski tells The Recursive.
The team then tried to grow the product organically by commenting and posting, however every comment and post on the topic was deleted and the account was banned from that subreddit because Reddit has a no-self-promotion policy, Velkovski explains.
And that was the moment when Howitzer was born as a concept.
“I wrote a script that scraped all the members of these subreddits, and according to the keywords, it filtered me the potential users. Then, I sent a personalized Reddit message to all these users, and the result was: over 2,000 downloads on Google Play in less than 14 days. That script was actually the beginning of Howitzer,” Velkovski tells The Recursive.
After this, Velkovski and the rest of the team decided to focus entirely on building the script into a complete marketing tool for Reddit.
“We are currently starting to grow and spread globally, first among startups, growth marketers, and crypto/NFT startups, and then the goal is to develop Howitzer into a universal growth hacking tool to be used by Social Media Marketing agencies – commerce brands, dropshippers, and so on”, Velkovski tells The Recursive.
The team is also working on Howitzer 2.0, a significantly advanced version of the tool, and then the plan is to launch on Product Hunt.
“For the next 6 months our focus is on Reddit, and later we plan to expand to other platforms, such as Twitter, Discord and other similar platforms, on which the ‘Platform Outreach’ paradigm can be applied”, Velkovski concluded.