Future stars: Stashmatrics founder Sam Oakley on connected homes and the rule of three

StashmetricsEvery week, The Wall is profiling a different tech start-up as part of our Future Stars series. The companies are all part of Collider – the organisation that puts tech start-ups in contact with big brands and investors to help them get business advice and funding for their new ventures. Today we meet Sam Oakley, managing director of Stashmetrics, who is on a mission to delve deep into what audiences really care about.  

Sum up your company in one sentence:

We use social media data to help brands understand what their audience cares about. Whether that’s as broad as understanding the content that works with young mums or as niche as trying to reach people who are into aerial drone photography, we can help build a picture of those people, where they hang out online, who influences them and what kind of content floats their boat.

That was two, but we’ll let you off. Why should brands be excited about you?

Our tool is designed with two things in mind: accessibility and actions. We make it easy to identify interesting groups and then deliver information that changes how marketing works on a day to day basis, right across the spectrum from PR to PPC.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned so far?

That’s a tough one. There are two fundamental start-up truths that have really made a difference to us.

1) The rule of three: Whatever you want to achieve will take roughly three times as long and cost three times as much as you first think it will.

2) That and the worst question you can possibly ask someone is “what do you think?” after a demo. Start-ups really need people to be more critical than they are. In our space everyone likes an entrepreneur and no-one wants say no, but being nice and pulling your punches doesn’t help us shape products that will make a difference.

Which social media platform can we talk to you on?

We’re around on most platforms but my personal favourite is Twitter. I love how open it is and how it perfectly reflects the zeitgeist at any one moment. I ‘m a pretty heavy Facebook user (for personal stuff) but from an analyst’s point of view I think it has a way to go before it can realise its potential.

What’s your exit strategy?

We’re in a really active space at the moment. A few years ago it was mostly the large technology companies that were buying up people like us, but at the moment it looks like the big media and agency groups have the most strategically thought out acquisition programs. I think we’d fit well in that model and can see that linking up our platform with people who have the creativity and resources to turn our insight into amazing content could be incredibly powerful.

Aside from your own, what innovative tech product should the sector be talking about?

I’m keeping a close eye on some exciting companies in the influencer marketing space – particularly one called Littlebird which is doing some really interesting things. I’m also a huge fan of one of my fellow Collider startups – SeenIt. It basically turns fans into a film crew for you. Both companies are about helping extend the reach and influence of people who already love your brand, and in my mind that’s going to be a real problem for brands over the next five years.

And from a consumer perspective, what piece of new technology do we need in our lives?

I’m a mobile geek. I love Sony’s vision of the connected home (centred around the smartphone) and some of the contactless payment innovations that are going on on in the states. I can’t wait for Moven (the bank) to launch in the UK.

When it comes to web distractions, what’s your site of choice?

I F*!%$ing Love Science blows my mind at least once a day. I also read The Nudge a lot and wish I was cool enough to live in east London.

Read more: In the first Future Stars interview, The Wall met founder of brand hub Cooala