[Tech50] Startup Intellemo helps small businesses launch digital marketing campaigns in a quick, simple way

Pretty much every business today needs digital or social media marketing. When it comes to a small business, it all boils down to budgeting as resources are limited compared to big enterprises which have in-house marketing teams in place to launch campaigns all year round. 

Majority of the smaller businesses usually rely on either freelancers or small-budget agencies for their social media marketing that would typically include posts creation, Google ads, among other things. Moreover, even after putting in all the efforts, businesses remain unsure as to how the ad would perform among the target audience. 

Gurugram-based startup Intellemo, which is among YourStory’s Tech50 list of most promising early stage startups, aims to solve this very challenge by automating the entire process of launching a digital media campaign of any scale with their ‘readymade ad templates’. 

The three-year-old startup, currently valued at $3 million, has served over 100 clients globally and has an annual recurring revenue (ARR) of $300,000. Some of its clients include Urban Company, Bidding Mart, Kohler, Lenskart Kids, Apna, and House of Candy, among others. Through its solution, Intellemo promises to be working towards reducing the reliance of small businesses on external resources and launching social media campaigns within a budget. 

The genesis 

An IIT Delhi alumnus, Co-founder Saurabh Gupta’s always had a bent towards marketing. The chemical engineer tried his hands at civil services after college before landing up at eyewear startup Lenskart as a digital marketing analyst. 

“I had a knack for marketing but never pursued it full time. I started marketing for one of my UPSC coaching centres which got me an opportunity at Lenskart,” says Saurabh, who has a decade’s worth of experience working across startups such as Yatra, UrbanClap, and Upwork.com, among others. 

During his stints, Saurabh was tasked with development of scripts for automating marketing processes, which gave birth to the idea of readymade templates, especially for small businesses who typically cannot afford big marketing teams to launch their campaigns.  

“Big enterprises have strong teams in place but what about small businesses who have similar products but don’t have the capacity,” says Saurabh, who started Intellemo as a digital marketing company in 2018 and worked on multiple models to find a scalable solution. 

“For almost two years, we kept trying and iterating over the problem with different solutions before deciding to convert our marketing services into a product.”

In January 2020, the startup pivoted from services to product and refreshed Intellemo with its new offering of readymade templates. He was soon joined by his wife Tusha Agrawal and brother Shivam Gupta, as co-founders. Tusha and Shivam have a strong marketing background and serve as Intellomo’s COO and CMO, respectively. Together the founding trio have invested about $150k in the product, to date. 

Team Intellemo

Digital media marketing umbrella 

The startup is building a large collection of advertising material for creating instant marketing campaigns on Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. This is targeted at standardised small businesses so they can leverage digital marketing campaigns effectively without any in-house marketing or creative expertise.

To begin with, Intellemo has curated a wide variety of industry-specific readymade templates — created by professional designers and vetted by marketers — which users can choose as per their requirement.

It could be a simple social media template for new year greetings or the launch of a new jewellery product or a special offer announcement. Once a template is selected, the user can make changes to the text, colour, images, logo etc. and align them to whatever their brand guidelines may be. Users can then integrate their social media pages to launch organic posts or launch ads for new or existing campaigns. Any campaign launched on Intellemo’s platform gets auto-optimised in line with the user’s specific marketing goals and budgets. The platform further monitors the leads and orders received by the client. The gamut of social media management and its performance, including templates, saved audiences, and landing pages (soon to be launched) is undertaken by Intellemo. 

The startup will soon add Youtube and Google ads in its portfolio along with landing pages. “We haven’t yet tried out our product in the international market but will soon diversify in newer regions. We have got some referrals.” 

The template market 

Easy-to-use templates for marketing are a booming space as everyone on social media is a potential creator of content. This trend has led international players like Canva to become extremely popular and reach a valuation of $40 billion. There is definitely an opportunity for a product play from India in the templated content space, and Intellemo believes it has an early mover advantage. 

“We face direct competition from Canva and Invideo. However, they provide templates to ease the life of a designer and not a businessman directly. Our target segments are different. In the Indian market, we haven’t seen anyone offering a similar product,” says Saurabh. 

Bangalore-based Rocketium is another startup that automates much of the process, allowing teams to scale-up campaigns. Its clients include CasaOne, Bigbasket, Cure.fit, and Meesho

Overall, the global readymade template market is pegged at $120 billion while the Indian market has an untapped potential of $6 billion, according to Saurabh. “The market is heavily crowded only to serve enterprises. Nobody is solving 99 percent of the industry i.e. small businesses, and no-one is well placed to solve for them at scale because it requires a lot of technical, marketing and design expertise. Readymade products and automation is the only solution [sic].”

The road ahead

The startup has a subscription-based revenue model with a charge attached to each creative post/ad. These posts are currently created in-house, but Intellemo plans to move to a marketplace model (adstock), where everyone can submit creatives and get commissions based on the launches. 

“We have built Intellemo Studio where around 100 content creators have signed up. We will create ready-made scripted videos which can be picked up by any brand for their next campaign. Content creators or influencers will serve as suppliers of these scripts.” 

The startup is working with a long-term goal of serving over one lakh brands globally on a paid subscription model. By the end of 2022, it aims to be serving 1,000+ brands besides adding new segments. 

“We have been profitably bootstrapped so far. For faster growth, we are in talks with investors and have pitched around $600,000 for seed round. We aim to be the biggest platform alternative of a digital marketing agency, for small businesses at the core,” signs off Saurabh.

Edited by Ramarko Sengupta