Simon Vielma, Founder, President, and CEO of Bidwise, Inc, tells us how highly converting search traffic increases sales and brand consideration.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Bidwise.
Simon Vielma: I was born in Venezuela and came to the U.S right after graduating high school to learn English and attend college. After I graduated college, I went on to attend graduate school at Harvard. While still in grad school, I was able to raise $600k in funding and moved to China to start a company focused on vertical search technology. What I learned in building that company proved to be very useful in building Bidwise. I learned about building effective teams, the need to move fast to get to an MVP, and the affiliate and other performance marketing business models.
Today, Bidwise provides an effective performance marketing platform capable of delivering high-quality intent traffic to businesses of all sizes. We have customers that range from the small Shopify store to large retailers like Walmart. We also run a network of content properties. In 2021 we launched https://www.surfky.com, which is our flagship site covering topics; such as insurance, banking, and personal finance. We acquired this property and launched the site as part of our strategy to expand into additional marketing verticals, such as finance, online education, etc.
Do you have small habits that made a meaningful impact on your life and business?
Simon Vielma: Daily reading. It’s the most important habit for any businessman or entrepreneur, and it has enriched my life tremendously. Like Charlie Munger says, “I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time. Zero.”
How does Bidwise market its product/services online?
Simon Vielma: We are fortunate enough to get most of our customers via word of mouth. They either find us by analyzing a competitor that buys traffic from us or talking to a colleague who successfully runs campaigns on our platform.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Simon Vielma: We use Google Analytics on our content properties, and we’ve built some custom tools that connect via API to the different marketing channels where we buy traffic from Google Ads, Bing Ads, and Criteo for programmatic remarketing.
What is your hiring policy/process, and how do you retain your employees?
Simon Vielma: We focus on bringing people in that are aligned with our culture and values. We pay people well and provide stock compensation, and we give them a lot of autonomy and freedom on how they go about and do their jobs.
How are you funding your growth?
Simon Vielma: Most of our growth has been self-funded by reinvesting our own profits into the organization. We got a half a million-dollar loan from another advertising company which we have since repaid.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Simon Vielma: We compete for advertising budgets with the big advertising platforms on the web, such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads, and other intent and performance advertising providers like Criteo.
Tell us a customer success story of yours.
Simon Vielma: Most customers who try the platform usually stay with us and increase their spending over time. Last year we got our first customer to hit a $1m spending run rate on our platform, which means this customer is spending more than $2740 per day on our platform. I, unfortunately, can’t name the customer, but to us, that’s a huge success story considering this customer started with a small budget.
Your final thoughts?
Simon Vielma: The 2020 pandemic accelerated the shift to move more and more businesses to an online model, opening up many opportunities for companies like ours, whose core mission is to help other online businesses grow by delivering high-quality traffic that converts. I am very excited about the future of online commerce and the future of Bidwise.