Gianluca Ciralli is one of the two co-founders and Chief Marketing Officer of Commercialista.com, a Rome, Italy based startup that operates a marketplace that connects accounting professionals and consultants. I met him first at TechCrunch, Italy, in September 2012. Now, he joined us and replied to our questions about his background, the company, the product, the team, their funding needs and future plans.
FinSMEs: Hello Gianluca, thank you for joining us. First, can you tell us a little bit more about you?
Gianluca: “My name is Gianluca Ciralli, and I’ve been working on web stuff since 1997. I’ve been on both tech and business sides, first as a programmer and lastly as a marketing manager.
“I worked for some well known online players, such as Expedia Inc and Immobiliare.it. In march 2012 I started working on Commercialista.com“.
FinSMEs: Let’s speak about Commercialista.com…What is it?
Gianluca: “Commercialista.com (“commercialista” is the Italian word for “accountant” and “tax consultant”), is a platform where accounting professionals and consultants meet clients.
“The product is both a marketing tool for professionals and a search / evaluation engine for users who need to hire a consultant or solve a problem. Albeit specific, the platform is actually a pilot-project for more category-specific websites targeting different professionals“.
FinSMEs: Tell me something more. How does it work?
Gianluca: “The search engine is geo-referenced, so that it’s easier for a user to find a consultant in his own area. But the engine is just a small part of the service which is actually aimed to “match” specific requests with professionals who can give exactly that kind of support. In few words, we route requests to the right professionals in order to build a relationship out of them“.
FinSMEs: What’s your business model?
Gianluca: “One side of the business model is based on subscription fees, that professionals must pay to be properly listed and have a full description on their profile page. On the other hand, we also drive leads to our partners, and those are a valuable service, which professionals are very happy to pay for, since chances are that those contacts eventually turn into customers“.
FinSMEs: Could you introduce us to the other team members?
Gianluca: “Another pillar of Commercialista.com is Marco D’Alia, cofounder and CTO, who developed the platform and is currently in charge of the future developments. He’s got a great experience in the online market: formerly he was Team Leader for Immobiliare.it and worked on uncountable web projects. Recently Mario Bellisario joined the team as Social Media Manager, and he’s also in charge of our content curation“.
FinSMEs: Have you ever raised funds? Are you seeking funds? What can you tell us?
Gianluca: “We are currently negotiating for a first round investment but we’re always in search for partners to speed up the process of developing new products and expanding market to other categories and countries. We’re looking for €300k to €500k to roll out our marketing plan and move ahead with the development of other categories. We’ve collected very interesting metrics within the past months, and we also put some marketing campaigns in place, in order to test different channels and get the proof of concept“.
Gianluca: “On top of improving the current product, we’re going to develop a Q&A model which is the natural extension of our service, as we could learn so far, and eventually turn it into a great opportunity for our partners who are supposed to make money out of their knowledge, within the platform itself. We’re also planning to release very soon a product dedicated to the legal world (lawyers), a market which is as promising as the one we’re already in“.