MikMak: Bringing E-Commerce to the Social Media Generation
In the ever-changing world of tech, e-commerce needs to follow the trends to thrive.
How we shop online has changed drastically over the last few years. Retailers can no longer rely on customers visiting their stores directly. Instead, social media is becoming the dominant marketplace.
However, many companies failed to adapt to these changes. That was until Rachel Tipograph noticed the disconnect and decided to bridge the gap. She figured that there had to be a better marketing strategy than sending emails. Thus, MikMak was created.
MikMak provides software solutions for market analytics and enabling e-commerce. This allows retailers and other companies to understand their customers’ online journeys and habits. Using this knowledge, businesses can optimize their marketing and media strategy to boost online sales.
Stick with this story to learn more about how this entrepreneur created a company that would lead the industry.
The Rise of a Star
Rachel Tipograph had an entrepreneurial spirit even from a very young age. After her bat mitzvah, she decided to sell her presents on a website that was starting to gain popularity at the time - eBay. She even got her parents to help her take her to the UPS store to ship the items.
Her parents were a little confused about what and why she was doing it, but they supported her nevertheless. After that initial sale, she continued reselling her neighbors’ items on eBay, keeping a 20% profit. Rachel did this throughout her teenage years at Pascack Hills High School.
After graduating high school, Rachel decided to pursue her education further. She moved to NYC and was admitted to the New York University School of Individualized Study. She graduated in 2009 with a B.A. in Entertainment Business & New Media.
However, Rachel wanted to do more during her university life. So she signed up for a range of internships throughout her studies. These ended up being immensely valuable to her future success because that's where she started accumulating crucial skills and experience she would use later in life.
Hard Work Pays Off
Rachel’s first proper job was during her last year in college. Time Warner employed her as a Digital Marketing Consultant. During her time there, her most significant achievement was convincing the top executives how the Internet would shake up the industry. But this was only the start of her career journey.
After graduating from college, Rachel started working as a strategist at Undercurrent. This is where she got to hone her skills even more and develop her ideas and digital mindset. She did this by solving complex problems for the likes of PepsiCo, Levi’s, GE, and many more.
Then, she joined Gap as a Global Director of Digital and Social Media - the youngest person to hold that position. Rachel spent her time at Gap overseeing strategy, measurement, and implementation. She also traveled around the world, gaining international experience.
During her time at Gap, Rachel realized that the way e-commerce was being handled was broken. The two main driving forces - promotional emails and targeted advertising, were also the things that annoyed customers the most. She was convinced that there must be a better way of doing things.
Rachel became obsessed with the idea. She wanted to find a way to drive up sales on the internet without annoying people. She even got support from her boss, who told her that if she found the answer it would be a billion-dollar idea. What ended up being the answer, was MikMak.
Reshaping the E-Commerce World
In April 2014, Rachel left her job at Gap to pursue this question. She gathered a small team to help her out and make her dream into reality. Thus, in September 2014, Rachel officially launched MikMak.
Using MikMak, many companies can get to know their customers better and connect with them. The businesses that can benefit from MikMak include CPG retailers, supermarkets, personal care shops, and many others.
The MikMak platform consists of two separate tools - MikMak Insights and MikMak Commerce. These work in tandem to deliver the best results.
MikMak Insights is the analytics tool that can help brands develop, improve and implement eCommerce strategies. As the name suggests, these tools give you insight into your customers’ online behavior and preferences across media and marketing activities. All the data gathered is analyzed and benchmarked against different categories.
MikMak Commerce is the other half of the company’s strategy. It is the tool that bridges social media and retailers and gives customers the option to shop wherever and whenever they engage your brand. Additionally, it can feed MikMak Insight data on customer behavior, further improving your e-commerce strategy.
One major hurdle Rachel experienced initially was writing the code so that she could create the tools. Although she had the right idea, she was no programmer. Luckily she got other professionals to do that for her, with her only guiding them to the main goal.
Though it started from a humble beginning, the company has drastically expanded and today leads the social media e-commerce scene. And with the dedication and drive that Rachel has, it is certain that bigger and better things are still to come.
Financing Next Gen Marketing
MikMak has had a successful funding history. It’s good to note that this company is still a private entity, and news regarding the IPO is yet to be announced.
It started with a Pre-Seed round, which commenced in January 2015. Later that year, the company also had its first Seed Round in July. However, this round carried on and extended into a second Seed Round a year later, in August 2016.
For this funding cycle, the company made $4 million, where VaynerMedia was the lead investor. The latest funding round was a Series A round, organized in August 2020, bringing MikMak more than double the previous financing - $10 million. Altogether, over the 4 funding rounds, MikMak managed to raise over $14M.
The company has a total of 19 investors backing it up. Some of the latest investors that joined during the most recent funding round are Brave Ventures, Lunch Partners, and Madrona Venture Group. The two lead investors are VaynerMedia and Wavecrest Growth Partners.
According to PrivCo, the company’s post-money valuation is around $10 million to $50 million.
MikMak Today and Beyond
Growth has come naturally for MikMak. In addition to the HQ in New York City, the company has also opened an office overseas in London. In total, MikMak has over 140 employees working full time.
One major interest for the company is increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion, with a dedicated resource group. This group organizes ongoing conversations, content, and events to make the company as inclusive and diverse as possible. The hope is to make all of the employees and customers feel like they are welcome in the company.
Another important objective at MikMak is the focus on the community. Whether it’s through outreach events or matching donations to essential charities, MikMak wants to give back to the community.
In order to keep on growing and expanding, MikMak is constantly pursuing new opportunities. It wants to continue developing more tools and software solutions to help its partners stay competitive.
Aside from this, MikMak wants to expand into different markets and reach a wider audience. Currently, it is focusing on its expansion into Europe and Latin America, and after that, it wants to start entering the Asian market as well.
With MikMak in the industry, shopping is now one click away!