Mural.ly, Exclusive Interview with Mariano Suarez Battan
The “Github of Ideas”, this is the aim of Mural.ly, the Buenos Aires, Argentina-based startup that is gaining attention (and money as well) from highly respected investors (read here). Serial entrepreneur Mariano Suarez Battan, the founder and CEO of the company, revealed us some secrets behind the his new venture.
FinSMEs: Hello Mariano, thank you for joining us. First, can you tell us a little bit more about you?
Mariano: Wannabe rockstar and soccer player. I became an Internet entrepreneur and I’m trying to make something big with Mural.ly. In the past, I created a video games company called Three Melons which is now part of Disney and also helped create Idea.me, a crowdfunding site in Latin America. I’m also a recent, proud father and husband.
FinSMEs: Why did you decide to launch Mural.ly?
Mariano: It had to be done! I needed something like Mural.ly as a creative person. The insight came from being a creative director in Disney.
FinSMEs: What is it? How does it work?
Mariano: It’s core is a web based content aggregator that let’s you map it freely to reflect your ideas and show them to your team/audience. Visual people get it right away, more structured not so much.
FinSMEs: What’s the business model?
Mariano: We want usage to be widespread so it will be free for people publishing content and sharing ideas openly. When groups start using it privately for professional purposes, we’ll ask for a small monthly fee in the future. There are some collaboration/branding features that might also come in a premium pack.
FinSMEs: Could you introduce us to the other team members?
Mariano: Pato Jutard was my partner at Three Melons and he’s also the CTO here. Agustin Soler is the product manager.
FinSMEs: Today, many tech companies try to raise venture capital, I know that this is not easy. What did you do to reach the target? Was it easy to close the deal?
Mariano: It was easier than in the past given my track record but still difficult because:
a) it was a novel product with no real traction at that time
b) I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and VCs (at least the ones investing in these kind of ventures) are generally in the US.
Investors who backed us up knew me from the past and were comfortable with my location… I’ll probably move to the US next year though.
FinSMEs: Who are the investors?
Mariano: Intel Capital, Alta Ventures and 500 Startups institutionally… angel investors from the Americas complete the slate.
FinSMEs: How are you using the capital?
Mariano: We are currently focused on nailing the experience. We are getting a lot of great feedback and want to make an amazing product that is part of people’s life and workflow.
FinSMEs: Do you already plan to raise an additional round?
Mariano: Initial activity looks good and it seems we will be in a good position to raise a Series A later this year.
FinSMEs: What’s your future plans?
Mariano: I want to make a product that solves a lot of people’s problems and that makes them better at what they do. It’s also true that we want to make new ideas come true and make people have fun while they work in something creative.
Working on Internet products has something magical which is being able to reach people EVERYWHERE and provide the means to let them connect with each other in more engaging ways.
I want to be part of that.