Today we’d like to introduce you to Nick Eischens and Jason Alvarez-Cohen.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Nick: Jason and I were best friends at UCLA who shared a dream of starting a company together. We were introduced to NFC technology at a party in the Hollywood Hills in fall 2019. Someone used an NFC business card on Jason’s iPhone XS and it blew our minds. We are social guys and love meeting and connecting with new people on social media so we saw this as an exciting opportunity to live our collective dream while also creating a brand new idea!
Jason: As a tech guy, I thought I knew most of the major features of our modern smartphones, but this was a first for me. After the event, I became obsessed with NFC and began exploring all potential capabilities and possible applications. After weeks of research, I realized the NFC business card was cool, but not necessarily convenient or on brand for us as two college grads who had never owned business cards ourselves. The modern business card isn’t actually a card, it’s your phone.
Nick: We created Popl as the fastest way to instantly share anything! Jason, the software engineer that he is, built the entire platform for social media sharing and I created the branding and packaging and made a system for sending out orders. We brought on a third partner, Jeremy Greenfield, for his branding expertise and startup experience.
Jason: We utilized our marketing skills from college and launched Popl via a viral TikTok. Our TikTok account had just started, and we only had about 300 followers, but we found some success when we posted a TikTok and woke up to 100k views, which was solid, but not really “TikTok viral”. At 9am, the video exploded! At one point, we were hitting 10k views per minute. The video climbed to nearly 80M views, skyrocketing sales and leading to Popls being sold in > 90 countries worldwide in just two months.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Nick: Starting and running a company is the opposite of a smooth ride; conflict is inevitable and comes from many areas. Negotiating agreements, mismanaging expectations, unreliable contractors, and falling short of goals are a few of the struggles that the Popl team has had to overcome. But with a reliable team, smart decision-making abilities, and mature advice-seeking, we are able to focus on our goal of integrating Popl into all parts of the day to day life and creating contactless and efficient solutions that help people on a global scale.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Popl – what should we know?
Jason: Popl is trailblazing the emerging market of instant contact sharing and modernizing the way that people interact with each other- allowing social media, music, payment platforms, contact information and more to be exchanged instantly.
We are the contactless, touchless solution needed to replace the now outdated practices of shaking hands, exchanging business cards, or typing on a stranger’s phone. We pride ourselves on being relentless in making Popl so easy, seamless and ingrained in our daily life that tapping phones to exchange information becomes normal behavior.
Nick: One of the most popular features of the Popl Platform that sets us apart is our patent pending Popl Direct™️ feature. Popl Direct™️ allows users to customize what they share and “pop” only specific links with ease, making it perfect for social or professional interactions. Recipients don’t need a Popl or an app for the transfer of information to work.
Jason: A big focus for our company is the theme of family. We have created the Popl Family, which includes users, ambassadors, resellers, small and large businesses, followers and fans. Popl is sold in 130+ countries and has over 30 international resellers (search “popl” on Instagram!). We are very proud of our worldwide reach and are focused on our continued expansion.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Jason: We owe all our success to our incredible team. Jeremy is an amazing coach, Sydney knows how to get things done, Eric closes deals, Bryce is very smart and resourceful, and Ryan brings great energy. We’re so lucky to have such a solid core Popl team.
Nick: Popl would not be where it is today without our ambassadors and our global resellers. We appreciate our Popl family so much! The Popl ambassadors build the hype and keep us poppin on social media, while the resellers help establish the brand around the world.
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