We added 25 new growth mentors this August (and they’re all pretty damn awesome)


This August was a record month for GrowthMentor! 25 x growth mentors joined the ranks. We’re really looking forward to seeing how their mentorship will help our community grow!

Now that demand is starting to catch up with supply we’re putting a much greater focus on mentor recruitment. 

This month we added 25 new growth mentors to the platform, a record!

From this point onwards, we’ll be onboarding mentors in monthly batches and will try and be a bit more ceremonious by creating blog posts like this one showcasing the epic nature of our (growth) mentors.

So without further blabla from me, here are August’s new growth mentors!

1. Aggelos Mouzakitis

Describe yourself

I ‘m the CEO of Growth Sandwich, a Europe-based product-led growth consultancy that helps SaaS businesses optimize their conversion funnel and the ambassador of product-led practices in Europe. I have more than 10 years of experience working and solving complex problems for tech companies and have had the chance to train more than 500 marketers and founders all over Europe.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

To hungrily, passionately testing stuff without the fear of failing in a silo-less manner within a tech company.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

As my experience is half marketing half product, I can mentor SaaS founders, Product and Growth marketers on everything between the first and the second As of the AARRR funnel (Acquisition/Activation).

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

I was working with a client on optimizing their Go2market strategy. It was a SaaS CRM/Automation tool for Amazon and eBay sellers. Their user onboarding was following the right principles but they were struggling to lead the user to the first valuable perceived outcome.

I realised that the existing theory is not complete and doesn’t really cover SaaS businesses that have a pretty long learning curve. In such cases, it is truly difficult to have a quick time-to-perceived value as the value is sometimes “hidden” behind the learning curve.

We still didn’t want to go to an MQL strategy though. So, we combined the MQL and PQL strategy by launching a mini product, that was a small feature of the main product, as a lead magnet. This mini product was put on top of the funnel, just like a lead magnet but it was still…a product.

This helped our users familiarise with the value proposition, have a quick aha! moment with a sub-product while still kept the characteristics of a marketing lead magnet. It also helped us give some more Freemium dynamics to the business’ go2market. We name this, ‘Product lead magnet’ and the type of leads it generates, ‘PMQLs’ (Product Marketing Qualified Leads).

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2. Alan Gleeson

Describe yourself

I help B2B SaaS companies grow by ensuring that they are optimizing sales and marketing efforts. I have worked with clients who are bootstrapped through to clients on their Series C round and have also worked with clients who have subsequently exited. More recently I’ve had leadership roles in a number of VC backed startups as either a Head of Marketing or Chief Marketing Officer.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

Creating a sustainable business where continuous growth is a key strategic priority.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Marketing (B2B SaaS) — many get it so wrong.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

Technical SEO hack for a client with a serious structural issue with their business.

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3. Andrew Ishimaru

Describe yourself

I’m a partner and co-founder at a remote, distributed marketing agency. Passionate about building and growing exciting new companies. Relentless learner of all things marketing & growth.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

Always learning. Always striving for excellence. Planning two steps ahead of where most people are happy to be at.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

How to build a growth marketing & customer acquisition strategy that actually works. Go-to-market is critically important in the early stages of a company and too many startups don’t know what to prioritize, even if they have the right idea of what they should be working on.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

After years of flat or negative growth, a SaaS client of mine engaged with me on helping them grow. I was able to increase their revenues 35% year over year, but that’s not the creative part — in the process, we realized that the market was too crowded for long term growth.

So, we built a few platform features into the product and launched a new brand re-skinning the core tech that focused only on a niche segment (1%) of their original customers.

10 months later, that segment accounted for 15% of their revenues and growing.

It was a full-blown new product and new business layered on top of the original.

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4. Asia Matos

Describe yourself

I’m an early-stage SaaS marketing and growth expert. I’m motivated by giving founders the resources and information they need to build successful SaaS companies. My goal is to reduce the 95% failure rate for startups.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

A growth mindset is all about uncovering where you want to go and acting on the steps to get there — without bias on when new data emerges and adjusts your course. While I do think it can happen really fast, growth often requires both small and large, consistent improvements in all areas of the business. They compound over time.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

If it’s not total go-to-market strategy, it’s definitely marketing. It’s the one thing there’s so much confusion around for founders who have zero marketing experience. I aim to demystify, provide clarity, and define an action plan.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

I feel like most of my “out of the box solutions” are really about either reducing steps and going direct or getting hyper-focused. I was working with a client once in an extremely competitive market. It was hands-down the most competitive market I’d ever marketed in. Hundreds and hundreds of competitors.

My bootstrapped client was struggling — MRR wasn’t looking good and churn was sky-high. Free trial conversion rate was non-existent. We tried everything, and then somewhere along the way it kinda hit me that we needed to reposition ourselves.

I worked with the founders on repositioning the product out of the competitive market, and it was such a dramatic lift in MRR and revenue. Felt damn proud. I can’t take credit that it was a groundbreaking discovery, but it was such a simple strategy that paid off for us.

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5. Austin Mullins

Describe yourself

I’m the founder of a content marketing & SEO agency called Conversion Creatives, and the VP of Sales at a marketing agency called Experiment 27.

What motivates me is trying to understand why people make the decisions they do, and what steps we can take to influence those decisions.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

To me, it’s all about understanding that the world around you is not fixed and that you can have an impact on what your future looks like. The great companies of today were built by mere mortals, just like yourself.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

How they can use content marketing as a long-term growth channel that drives a ton of revenue, reduces churn, and acts as a “moat”, making their business more defensible over time.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

Anything I’ve achieved has surely been the result of diligent execution, rather than some genius insight. Most of the out-of-the-box thinking myself and my team do is centered around how we can make some form of media or outreach more compelling and effective.

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6. Bartosz Pielaszek

Describe yourself

I am an empathic and data-driven growth marketer with +$5.2m spent across Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Taboola, Reddit, Apple Ads, Snapchat and Tinder. I gained my experience working with the biggest, worldwide brands from various industries (B2B and B2C).

I’m experienced in full-funnel digital marketing and data analysis but lately, I am focusing mainly on consulting, creating and implementing growth marketing strategy. I’ve founded the invite-only growth marketing community in Poland that runs non-profit full growth audits for fast-growing startups/SMBs.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

Pragmatic approach combined with dreaming big. Understanding growth is a long-term strategy and you need to focus on experimenting fast, learn and iterate to provide the best product and service to your audience.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Full funnel marketing – the most often holistic approach reveals areas to improve f.e. underdevelopment PMF, vague PPC strategy, funnel leaks in the crucial conversion stage etc.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

The client was the behemoth of the agriculture industry who developed their portfolio by creating BT N-sensors (Bluetooth nitrogen sensors) and software for satellite crop monitoring.

It was very hard to introduce the innovative product on the market – CPA was VERY high (negative ROI).

I’ve identified Bulgarian farmers were very active in social media because of tense political situation through increased taxes for farmers. By personalized and well-targeted campaign I used the buzz for my virality – ROI exceeded 1500%.

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7. Chang Chen

Describe yourself

My passion is helping early-stage SaaS & DTC startups to grow. I’m a growth leader with 9+ years of experience in user acquisition, social media marketing, engagement, conversion rate optimization, and analytics.

A few things I’ve done:

  • Build scalable and efficient growth engines for 5+ B2C SaaS & DTC startups, scaled users from hundreds to millions
  • Build scalable and efficient growth engines for 3+ B2B SaaS startups, scaled ARR from 0 to millions
  • Built acquisition funnels for many SaaS & DTC products, increase the revenue by up to 100X
  • Increased activation rate by 54% and retention rate by 39% within the first week for a B2C SaaS company
  • + many more success stories…

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

When you can’t change a situation in your life, change your perspective and mindset to get the best out of that situation, and grow.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Building scalable and efficient growth engines. Smart growth hacks can generate spikes of growth, which usually would expire sooner than later.

Every company has it’s unique company stories, market segments, product differentiators, and growth mentality, I’d love to help companies to identify, strategize and create their unique growth engines.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

The project was to improve the lead generation events attendance for a Martech company. Everyone hates lead gen events. We discussed ideas of exclusive venue, 1st-class speakers, fancy performances and drinks for happy hour, etc, but each one of them is costly.

I got inspired by a speaking opportunity that I was really interested in. So I turned the event into a mini-summit with a collection of panel discussions among existing and potential customers.

We invited the customers to SPEAK at instead of to attend the event. All speakers showed up at the event, and they brought their co-workers and friends with them. Speakers and attendees had a great time exchanging perspectives (and enjoying drinks).

We generated 3.8X more leads with a 47% lower cost for that specific event. We also identified a scalable and efficient growth channel for the company.

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8. Dan Carmel

Describe yourself

I’m a marketer who loves code and am a big supporter of T-Shaped mentality. I’m currently VP of Strategy in OMD Israel, where I manage both the Strategy and the Data teams. I was previously COO and Head of Growth at Roy Povarchik’s Growth agency, Stardom.

My passion is finding unconventional solutions to marketing challenges, and my main expertise is in Technical Marketing, Strategy, Journey mapping and Analysis. I also build products for growth hackers, combining my own skillset and freelancers on Upwork.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

Being more than a marketer. Constantly learning new things, and being the pivot point that glues everyone together to keep their eyes on the prize and their project on track to reaching our goals.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Growth Strategy, and particularity building user journeys that are actionable and measurable, focusing on combining content and paid media.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

I’ve recently created a tool that allows users to generate initial content research on any keyword (map a list of blogs/influencers/articles that appear on top x lists, with URL, name, rank etc) in one click (the list usually generate over 200 relevant sites and allows marketers in agencies to quickly learn about a new field, map competitors/guest blogging opportunities, influencers etc.

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9. David Hoos

Describe yourself

I’m a rabidly curious self-learner who has developed both passion and expertise in the area of content strategy and expert service firm growth. If you have particular expertise that others could be learning from and paying for, I have a playbook to help you get the audience and customers you need.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

It means doing research, forming a plan of action, and then testing and iterating on that plan learning from every success and failure along to way to improve each subsequent step.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Expert service/agency positioning and growth

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

Well, the biggest complex problem I’ve come up against was the challenge of agency growth. When you are dealing with expert services, the traditional marketing funnel has to be thrown out the window. It works fine when you’re selling less expensive products with a demo or trial, but the longer the sales cycle and the more expertise-based it is, the harder it often is to close.

That’s why the solution is to build an expert platform around as many of your SMEs as possible. How to build that platform is another out of the box solution for another day.

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10. Jason Barbato

Describe yourself

Longtime inbound/digital/product marketer turned first-ever growth hacker at IBM. Over the last three years I’ve built and scaled the growth hacking function at IBM including 10x scale of our adoption and enablement program and experimentation that has generated nearly $40M in ARR. I love leading/managing people, sharing my experiences, and helping growth-minded brands and business elevate to the next level.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

Being data-driven, analytical, agile, iterative, learning from everything you do, and being willing to take risks.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

The fundamental value of growth hacking.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

We found that about 1500 IBM trial users per month were attempting to convert to paid online, but were experiencing credit card transaction issues and could not proceed.

Nothing at the sales level was being done about this.

So, my idea was to create an instant in-app message routing these users, immediately upon rejection, to a live chat with a client success manager to help guide their completed transaction. We experimented with this, and then added an email intervention 24 hours later with a similar message for those that did not engage with the in-app.

The outcome from this was a now standardized nurture stream for all IBM Cloud users, over 4,000 recovered users and $4M+ in net new ARR.

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11. Kristen Giovanniello

Describe yourself

I love building products that help automate workflows. It’s exciting to build things that make people’s lives easier and enable them to be better at their jobs.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

Rapid prioritization. This applies to all areas of growth, from product to marketing. What needs to come first to make the biggest impact.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Product Management.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

As an entry-level product manager, I was able to get the first paying customer for a Fintech product that had been around for 8 years at a large corporate. I did this by just asking. It doesn’t sound out of the box but sometimes the solution is simple and you just need to confidence to ask.

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12. Lindsey Allard

Describe yourself

I am a Product Manager who started a company called PlaybookUX. We help businesses get video-based feedback from their target demographic. Building new products excites me and I love talking to people passionate about their work.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

Active prioritization. Every day looking at what needs to get done to drive forward and all decisions should be made with the data / user feedback in mind.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Prioritizing your roadmap by conducting user feedback / research

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

I started PlaybookUX because of my own problem. I wasn’t able to get access to specific, verified users for my user research studies. I also spent weeks analyzing the results. PlaybookUX has a pool of testers all verified through LinkedIn and uses A.I. to automate the research output.

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13. Louis Nicholls

Describe yourself

I’m a multiple-time startup founder. Built multiple businesses (exited 2x), raised multiple rounds of funding, and lead growth at a series A startup. Now I teach early-stage founders sales and consult on social proof optimization. I love helping newer founders and growth employees quickly learn the lessons I had to learn the hard way…

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

A growth mindset is… Completely understanding your customers’ goals, creating a win-win situation, and teaming up with them to achieve those goals.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Depends on the stage they are at. In terms of where I’m the best compared to other growth experts, it’s clearly in the field of social proof optimization. In terms of most value to the startup, I’d probably choose to mentor them on how to get their customers to show them how to sell.

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14. Manuel Hartmann

Describe yourself

I am driven by making the biggest possible impact to help tech startups succeed, which is why I founded hartmannventures.com to help entrepreneurs gain market traction quicker and enable them to not only build great products but also great companies.

I want to achieve this by offering “Sales for Startups”: Entrepreneurial, operational sales support that is flexible, affordable and no bullshit.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

There are always ways to achieve your goals if they are important and you are persistent but also creative enough to find new ways to do things. To achieve things other people don’t, you need to do things other people wont’.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Sales. Most startups fail because they can’t get traction. It is hard but crucial to build a great company

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

Step-by-step productize my sales know-how from 30+ sales and startup book + my experience of building B2B sales for an AI startup into a reusable sales playbook turns out to be much appreciated by startups. I will later 2019 transform this from GSheet/Airtable into a flexible, affordable, no bullshit SaaS offering.

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15. Mark Patchett

Describe yourself

An entrepreneur at heart that loves building amazing things that have a big impact, with a focus on Ecommerce. Impact to me is just as much about helping my team and customers have happier lives as it is about financial success, although that’s a very fun by-product : )

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

A growth mindset is a highly adaptable, tenacious, persistent, humble and hungry attitude from someone who does what they do as much for the journey as the outcome.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Evvvvverything on fast growth e-commerce. This is my bread and butter. Specifically in the USA/UK.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

We were in dire need to understand more about our customers but had no budget to hire big-dog agencies (who quoted between $10k-$50k).

We did, however, have 1,000s of reviews. I created a qualitative analysis framework and then built an army of stay-at-home mums and dads using local “thirty living” Facebook groups. With the team, we trawled through close to 5k reviews of not only our business but also our competitors.

From this, we identified key selling points that formed our entire marketing strategy. We still needed cheap ads though, so we stacked together video reviews customers had uploaded on YouTube (we got permission), then put some royalty-free music and went live.

Those ads ended up bringing in $10m of some of the most efficient revenue we’ve driven to date.

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16. Martin Duran

Describe yourself

I am passionate about finding new and innovative ways for startups to achieve disruptive and profitable growth, all while providing amazing experiences for their customers.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

Learning something new every day, developing a close (and constructive) relationship with failure so you can improve and make it better next time.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Marketing + Funnel Automation. I love to build systems from scratch that optimize the Customer Value Journey.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

Two hours before a webinar, a bug erased more than 1k registrants. I came up with a webhook to re-register them, and we avoided that they would have to fill the form again.

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17. Martin Weiss

Describe yourself

I m a marketing consultant turned marketing analyst. As such while having a background in business and marketing I work with clients and other marketers on drawing actionable insights from data. Besides my day job at Google I have a side project on analyticalmarketer.io where I teach marketing analysis to marketers through guides which can be easily applied in in real-life marketing environments.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

Being data-driven – Objective business decisions based on data rather than subjectivity.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Classic Marketing Analysis as I have the most expertise there, it’s underrated (i.e. if done right it can have an actionable impact) and doable for anybody (even for non-math / analytical / technical people).

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

Developing messaging and content strategies to nurture an existing customer and/or subscriber base is an everyday and complex challenge almost every digital marketer faces. I wrote a guide on how to segment customers based on their transaction history and how to target each segment with an individual messaging strategy to improve re-engagement and conversions.

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18. Mauricio Giordano

Describe yourself

I’m an entrepreneur passionate about meeting interesting people and exchange knowledge and experience. I’m more leaned towards tech and business conversations but I can talk pretty much about anything. Being able to help someone is what motivates me to get up and do my work.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

My expertise would be more on social engineering and building relationships to lead to more enterprise sales. With that in mind, I value openness to conversation and helping people without expecting anything in return, building trustworthy relationships will eventually pay off. A growth mindset for me would be to meet today more or equally the same amount of people than you met yesterday.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Enterprise sales. This is a topic we struggled for a long time and it would have helped us a lot if we had proper mentoring.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

I managed to write a driver for a specific printer from scratch for ARM architecture in a few days (we closed a deal with a customer and we sold something we didn’t have – this was the first year of our company – a self-service kiosk that supports a specific printer with closed source drivers without binaries in ARM).

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19. Michelle Lia

Describe yourself

I’m a growth consultant from Sydney that has a background in media, finance, and law and has trained in product management as well. I’ve worked with companies from fintechs to IoT to corporate. I love growth, helping to solve problems and using product thinking and applying it to marketing.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

A growth mindset means thinking like a founder, not being afraid to fail (or learn from said failure) and having a natural curiosity and a zest for experimentation! (Also let’s not forget to instill the scientific method and lean method into everything we do! Build, measure, learn, repeat!)

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Building out a scalable marketing and growth stack so that it scales and grows with them as their business grows.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

Helping to drive acquisition and downloads of a product not by doing something large and grandiose, but instead going the other way and simply making a minor tweak to the product instead. Not everything in growth has to be hacktastic – sometimes the smallest tweaks have the biggest payoffs!

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20. Mo Hamzian

Describe yourself

Strategy maven; Growth mindset; Seasoned executor with an entrepreneurial DNA; Firm believer that in life, and particularly so in business, we have to add measurable value. I am passionate about simplifying problems, collectively cutting through the argument and uncertainty to deliver a solution that everyone can get behind. This, I find, empowers growth.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

Continuously upgrade one’s firmware to widen experience thus eliminating blindspots through open fluid relentless learning, being and doing.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Branding Strategy. Whats the vision?

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21. Nelio Leone

Describe yourself

My name is Nelio I’m a growth marketer obsessed with building digital edgy brands with super creative conversion funnels.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

A growth mindset is the ability to put yourself in a position where you keep learning stuff. Once you are done with – lets say – brand or content marketing you’ll seek new ways of learning Martech, coding etc.. for me Growth Mindset is all about never settling and exapnd your marketing t-shape.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

It would be on their top funnel and content marketing. I love to make relevant noise and get start ups noticed.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

I was working at Washmen – a laundry start up operating out of Dubai. We were stuck in terms of customer acquisition. Our ads were simply not working anymore. So I took a native indian war bonnet and I started talking to my phone cam. Then I distributed in through paid marketing. The campaign went so viral that Facebook decided to create a case study on us.

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22. Nicole Fu

Describe yourself

I’m Nicole, an experienced SaaS marketing professional with a passion for demand generation, digital marketing, and campaigns that drive pipeline and revenue. Vancouver-born and Singapore-bred, I’ve traveled to over 40 countries and lived in five cities. I love data, startups, and effective altruism. I serve as an advisor and pro-bono consultant to two global health and poverty non-profits as well as a climate-action startup and am now particularly interesting in working with companies solving for social/environmental impact.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

An analytical mindset, led by data and (non-vanity) metrics; an openness to testing new ways to grow; and the expertise to scale and optimize what’s working.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Lean Growth Marketing.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

I like to think that I’m a “lean growth marketing” practitioner. Lean as in lean startup, and lean as in good bang-for-your-buck. The complex problem this solves for is the constraints – monetary or otherwise – faced by startups. In so doing, I often strategize out-of-the-box ideas.

One example is influencer marketing for a client. We offered to compensate the influencers with our product instead of $$$. I managed to score a few influencers this way, and one, in particular, blew up, resulting in thousands upon thousands of leads through him.

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23. Rabin Nuchtabek

Describe yourself

Born in China and grew up in Russia & Belgium. Start up scene is something that excited me vigorously. Especially Mobile Apps & SaaS companies. My next step is to become a Mentor for Start-Ups who have the drive to go international.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

I believe at the core it is about agility to adapt, eagerness to learn, the unbiased outlook at data, being positive and taking calculated risks. Basically having a continuous belief that improvement is possible and that each failure is an opportunity to learn.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Definitely marketing then. Purely because the marketing scene is changing so rapidly, especially since marketers are now focusing too much on tools and hacks, rather than spending time to understand psychological behavior of the target audience and then applying various tools & tactics. As a founder/executive I believe it can be very challenging & confusing to keep track of the marketing landscape and properly leverage it.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

The very first time when I had to develop and implement a content strategy to improve SEO while driving conversions organically, the idea was dreadful. Especially since I have a slight form of dyslexia.

After convincing the client to implement my approach, we have scaled the organic traffic from 2000 per month to now something that is 17.000 visitors per month.

Currently, this is not too complex and one of the things that I love doing. However retrospectively, at that time it was a complex & hard matter to me and to this date I am proud of it.

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24. Rene Morency

Describe yourself

My passion for the technology industry is based on the principles of simplicity, consistency and creating memorable and meaningful experiences through thoughtful design. My core skills cover; building, directing and managing teams, design insight, innovation and analysis, business strategy and thought leadership.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

It means an unequivocal focus in believing that both yourself and your team can achieve the goals set out at the beginning of your journey, whilst, also remaining sensitive to market changes, user trends, and opportunities to pivot.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

It would be on how to; build, lead and scale the team and culture required to make a business a success. The people you choose to surround yourself with, and the culture they buy into are the most important part of any business, don’t underestimate how making the right hire can change a business.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

To me, the term ‘out of the box’ means a simple solution to a complex problem. With that in mind, a company I advise for had been spending a large percentage of their operational expenditure (opex) on an engineering team, but the large majority of their revenue came from user experience design, a skill set that they were widely regarded for.

My interjection saw them cut the engineering offering from their sales, marketing, and production, allowing them to focus on capitalizing the demand for user experience design by realigning their market position and reducing their opex. It helped their revenue grow exponentially and allowed the company to grow rapidly in their main area of expertise.

In addition to this, I advised that that collaborate with an engineering agency who were able to offer engineering expertise as a partner agency and provide their customers will a full-service solution.

Restructure and rebuild – a simple solution to a complex problem.

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25. Vassilena Valchanova

Describe yourself

I am an independent digital strategist, trainer, and public speaker with 12 years of experience in marketing and communications. I’ve worked for a variety of companies in different industries, my main focus being e-commerce and SaaS.

I’m passionate about sharing knowledge and I do this mainly through my blog (started in 2007) and my training practice. I’ve trained more than 2,000 students in content marketing, copywriting, marketing measurement, and gamification.

I believe sharing what you know and helping others helps you get better just as much.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

To mean, it means being resilient and flexible. It means leaving your ego at the door and keeping in mind you probably don’t know everything. And that’s not just OK, that’s great because you will definitely learn something new today. And finally, it means recognizing that failure is not death, but a necessary step moving forward.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

I’d say “conversion rate optimization” because it’s a broad term to let me cover a few things (so I’m basically cheating!). First, it means you look at the customer journey from a strategic perspective – detail it out and analyze with the data available where your key drop-off points are. Then you review, hypothesize solutions and draft experiments. Then you see what the data says and if your experiment is successful (meaning if you learned something useful about user behavior).

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

We were working on a PPC project where we needed to optimize the cost per free signup for a SaaS platform. We had a couple of OK months, a great month (cost/conv. was half) and then 3-4 months fo increasing costs. We couldn’t figure out what was setting apart this great month from the rest.

After some digging, we found out that the brand campaign had performed amazingly during this month and that’s what brought down the overall cost/signup. After some further digging we found a testable and replicable correlation – if we spent a portion of the budget on “non-converting” GDN campaigns, we’d get better overall cost/signup because of a spike in branded search.

Complex correlations like that make me feel alive 🙂

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Apply for the September Batch!

September’s batch will be capped at just 15 growth mentors, (two of those spots are already filled).

What we’re looking for in the next batch:

  • Founders of startups that did not receive VC funding but somehow managed to scale to 7 figures ARR
  • Growth marketers currently employed at two-sided marketplaces that are post-PMF 
  • Heads of growth at B2B SaaS companies with minimum 7 figures ARR
  • Wildcards: Applicants that may not fit the above criteria but possess an extraordinary ethos fit

 

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