Skyscrpr Founder Paul Burger Discusses The Easy Monetization Of Independent Publishing With His Startup
Paul Burger’s Skyscrpr is ready to change the way independent online publishers monetize. Not only that, it used to be a bit of pain from the emerging publishers perspective to sell and place adds on their sites, but with an intuitive drag and drop interface, Skyscrpr has addressed the issues that were previously a hassle.
Essentially, it’s the next step in the evolution of online advertising for bloggers, designers, and independent publishers and it couldn’t have come sooner as it integrates with Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, and Squarespace. Not only does it make the task of independent publishers easier when it comes to monetization, it also gives publishers more time to work on what they do best, publishing.
We had a chance to talk to Paul recently and although he’s been quite busy recently, he was very excited to talk to us about Skyscrpr, his team, and spending time with his wife. Here’s what he shared with us :
Can you talk about your previous startup experience and how you think it has specifically informed what you aim to accomplish with Skyscrpr?
I’d previously co-founded a company called Cargoh – a marketplace for independent artists and designers. I learned a lot of great lessons there. Probably too many to list here, but the value of jumping in and doing it, while painful at times, was invaluable.
The idea for Skyscrpr came from a pain I felt at Cargoh, and my co-founder Jacob Reiff was experiencing at his previous startup called Wantist. We were both trying to monetize through ads, and we couldn’t believe how difficult it was to find a good solution.
What made you choose Vancouver’s accelerator Growlab and how do you think working with Growlab help Skyscrpr evolve?
GrowLab came through my previous connection to Vancouver. While they have typically been Vancouver based they were looking to build companies in San Francisco too, so we were in the right place at the right time. The accelerator has been hugely valuable for us in many ways. Having a strict timeline and mentors pushing you towards a demo day was a big deal for us. Demo day is next week and we’re ready to make some noise. I don’t think we would be this far along if we didn’t have them pushing us.
Can you tell me the back story about what you were working on before joining Growlab and how you found yourself involved with Growlab?
We had just started the company in San Francisco and were working furiously on the product and building a network in a new city. GrowLab came along at the perfect time to provide the structure and support we needed to get the company to the start line and releasing an MVP (which we did last week).
What goals do you have set for the first year with Skyscrpr?
We are really confident in the problem we’re solving, so getting to product/market fit as quickly as possible is important to us. Once we hit that it is going to be all about scale, scale, scale!
I noticed that as of now, Skyscrpr is free but the aim is to monetize. What’s the advantage of offering your product for free at launch and then asking users to pay when the right fee has been calculated?
We’re still very much in beta, and we’ll be releasing our pricing model very soon.
Why should a user choose Skyscrpr over iSocket or BuySellAds? How do you think Skyscrpr is going to change the way things are done?
While we think that our competitors have done incredible things in the space to date, we believe that there is plenty of room for a unique solution like Skyscrpr to flourish. Coming from the publisher world ourselves, we have some really innovative ideas on how to solve many pain points publishers still face. Stay tuned.
Can you tell me about the company culture at Skyscrpr and how you think that’s reflected in your product?
Ad tech is traditionally so unsexy! We set out to change that. We are very serious and passionate about the space and solving the problem, but we also know not to take it, or ourselves, too seriously. We want the product to be fun to use so we try and infuse our personalities and culture into it. We are still a small team, so while we get shit done fast, we take time to play too.
In five years, what do you think Skyscrpr will be like?
I have no idea. But as each day goes by we get faster, stronger and better, so I am sure it’s going to be one hell of a rollercoaster ride. We’re strapped in.
What keeps you motivated to follow things through in your life as well as with Skyscrpr?
I wish I knew. I am not sure anyone on our team knows how to do anything else. It’s both a blessing and a curse.
One key thing I will say though, is that having a killer support team around you helps immensely. Because there are going to be days where getting out of bed feels like being water boarded. Our kick ass team gets me through that. Everytime!
What advice would you offer someone interested in launching a startup?
This has been said a million times over, but I think the one thing is to make sure that you are the type of person that is built for the ride. Because the only certain thing is that the highs will be high and the lows will be low. You just have to be the kind of person that thrives in that type of environment, because this is extremely far from the easy way out, but it’s incredibly rewarding.
Can you tell me about what your daily routine is like right now?
Usually starts with a run. Clears my head.
We actually have our team in one place for the first time in a couple months, so we usually start the day with a quick scrum, then head to our corners to get shit done, and return to the scrum towards the end of the day to check back in. We’re still a small, scrappy team, so we all wear many hats. Other than that we just methodically set up milestones and then knock them down.
When you’re not Skyscrpr-ing, how do you like to unwind?
For the last few weeks I’ve been in Vancouver getting ready for GrowConf, so my wife and I have been getting out into the trails for a run, or a hike. There is no better place than this city in the summer. It’s insane. My friends play a huge role in my life too, so anytime there’s a chance, you can find me on a patio with some mates.
How do you balance your work life and your personal life?
If you ask me, I’m really good at it. If you ask my wife, you’ll get a different answer. Ha!
I’m actually not very good at it. I love what I do, so I tend to always be thinking about work in some way, shape or form. But I do try and take at least one day a week where I don’t think about work and spend it with my wife, and our friends. They’re incredibly important to me.