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May 10th, 2015

Business Spotlight: Cleverbug

As a profile business for National Enterprise Week, Cleverbug has used the investment opportunities available in Ireland to grow the unique CleverCards brand at home and around the world.

As an already successful entrepreneur, Cleverbug started as a personal passion for founder and CEO Kealan Lennon, as he set out to make it easy to emotionally connect with friends and family, both online and offline.

This passion has grown into a successful company which currently employs 25 people in Dublin and 5 more in San Francisco. Boasting users in 200 countries around the world and integrated into a global network of 75 print and logistics facilities, Cleverbug is making its mark on the gifting industry in 2015.

We spoke to Kealan to learn more about his business.

How did the idea for CleverCards come about?

We recognised that the market for celebrating friendships through special occasions is very significant. While there is immense commercial competition around the obvious gifting dates such as Christmas, there is also a very large and less competitive market for personal special occasions, like birthdays and anniversaries, which are largely unknown to the public and retailers around the world.

What makes your product offering unique to that of your competitors?

We have developed a social map of users and their close friends, a personalised event triggered gifting engine and a photo curation engine. With these capabilities Cleverbug helps our users to “be a better friend”.

What steps have you taken to grow your business in global markets and what goals do you have for your business?

CleverCards has customers in 200 countries around the world. Growth to date has been largely driven by the advocacy of our users. Due to the personal nature of the interaction between a user and recipient, we are seeing continued growth amongst users’ families and friends. Our goal is to continue to scale our users internationally and become the largest personalised gifting business in the world.

What advice do you have for Irish-based companies looking to expand their business internationally?

The key is confidence, passion & global ambition. Geographic borders are not the big issue – solving a problem and providing a compelling solution should be the focus.

Digital privacy is a growing issue of concern for consumers. How do you maintain trust with your customers as the Facebook login is a key component of your product offering?

The access that Cleverbug has been given through Facebook login is a privilege, and we are committed to retaining our customers’ trust. We only access data that is relevant to our offering, and we always use it to improve the customers’ own experience. For example, we use friends’ birthdays to trigger reminders to send a card on time.

What opportunities do you see for the future expansion of Cleverbug?

My vision is that online retailers like Amazon, Alibaba and others will be able to use Cleverbug’s technology to recommend what the gift recipient would like, to her friends & family, in the week before her birthday. Understanding purchase intent is the Holy Grail for the retail gifting industry.

How did your relationship with Bank of Ireland develop?

Bank of Ireland supports early stage technology companies via its venture investment fund managed by Delta Partners. Delta Partners was an early investor in Cleverbug.

How does it feel to be chosen as a profile business for Bank of Ireland’s National Enterprise Week? 

It feels very exciting. I’m very proud of how far Cleverbug has come and am hugely optimistic about the future. This opportunity positions us really well to partner and share advice with other Irish companies who may be less experienced expanding into other markets like the US but also to grow our own profile here at home.

Download CleverCards from the App Store or Google Play and find more information on www.clevercards.com.

Register here for National Enterprise Week, with hundreds of events taking place across Ireland for SMEs from the 13th – 20th November 2015.

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