Poptop, a startup founded by Ukrainians, raised $780,000. Where will the investments be spent on

A Poptop  startup created by Ukrainians raised an investment of $780,000. The founders of the company told AIN.UA about this. The editors have learned from them how the startup is developing today and how they plan to spend the money.

What does Poptop do?

Poptop is an online event planning platform operating in the UK market (primary market), as well as Ukraine (subsidiary). The scheme of work is as follows: the client places a request for the provision of services for the event (mainly entertainment sphere: organizing catering, transfer, music, etc.) on the platform, and the contractor receives an application there and takes it up. The startup gets a commission from the contractor in the amount of 7% of the order value. The additional budget comes at the expense of an optional premium subscription for performers: by subscribing, you can receive more orders.

Yevhen Shestopal (left) and Ignat Thorovskyi (right)

The startup was founded by two Ukrainians – Yevhen Shestopal (CEO) and Ignat Thorovskyi (CTO) in 2014 in Ukraine, and in 2015 Poptop was launched on the British market. Their startup was more promising to develop itself in something more significant, although the vast majority of the orders came from Great Britain. Now the startup has 15 employees and two offices: one in Kyiv and another one in Newcastle (Great Britain).

Who gave the money?

Investments for $780,000 (£615,000) received from:

  • Dow Schofield Watts Angels (more than 30 angel-investors);
  • Private investor Rod Bulmer;
  • British Foundation Northstar Ventures.

For Poptop this is not the first side investments in their funds. In 2017, a startup has already raised £120,000 from Northstar Ventures and Ciklum founder Torben Majgaard. He also invested $30,000 in 2015.

Rod Bulmer, who invested in a startup as an angel investor, will take a non-executive position on the company’s board of directors. He will assist in the development of the project. Previously, he served as executive director of a large international company, the Co-op Group, whose number of employees in Britain alone exceeded 70,000. Recently, he is engaged in private investment since recent time.

Where will the raised funds go?

According to Yevhen Shestopal, Poptop has already reached a payback. Investments raised for a more dynamic development of a startup. In particular, money will be spent in several directions:

  1. Development and implementation of new technologies. In particular, the function of instant booking.
  2. Part of the money will be spent on marketing Poptop in the UK and global markets. In the future, the startup plans to enter the international market.
  3. Team Recruitment. Next year, Poptop intends to increase staff and bring the total number of employees to 40-45 people. Employees will be recruited to offices both in Kyiv and in Newcastle. In Ukraine, a startup is interested in hiring developers, product managers, designers, data analysts, as well as staff for the marketing team.

“The industry of planning and organizing events is quite outdated. The client leaves the order; the contractor offers a price, the parties stipulate dates. And only when there is a confirmation. The process can take a very long time. Our idea is to make booking services instant similar to Booking.com: I chose the hotel, entered the map and everything is ready. I don’t want to wait for anything – I need to know everything here and now.” A unique calculator has developed inside the team, which, based on the parameters entered by the client, immediately generates a price and if it is suitable, a reservation formed.

According to Shestopal, there is no such service in the UK market right now. Its implementation will allow the Poptop to develop more actively and receive more orders due to an increase in the conversion of customers. The plan for 2019 is to grow by 400% in revenue compared to 2018.

The company is also working on collecting package offers and selling them — for example, a wedding. Separately, there are several services: location design, music, transfer, catering, etc. Now the customer orders everything separately. Poptop sees this as an opportunity to earn money: a full “package” of services collected by company employees and sold at once.

Now Poptop is actively looking for people in the Kiev office of a startup. “We are a product-oriented startup, and we have our platform. Therefore, we need people who are ready to join us and jump in the work process immediately. We have attracted funds and are planning to aggressively hire people, to close dozens of positions in Ukraine and Britain. Now for me, this is one of the priorities,” says Shestopal.