Tech Pitch: PostBug
Looking to help activists get their voices heard, this clever tech start-up is enabling hundreds to send protest letters and postcards to influential people
Company name: PostBug (operated by Mr. Postman Ltd.)
Founders: Martin Loat (55), Reece Campbell (24)
Background: Loat is the founder and CEO of successful B2B PR company Propeller Group and launched Mr. Postman in 2015. He teamed up with Campbell in 2015 to take the postage app to the next level.
Based in: Soho, London
Launched: January 2017
Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?
- PostBug is an ‘online-to-postage’ website allowing groups of people with common interests to send similar letters or postcards to public figures and prominent people. So it’s ideal for campaigners wishing to make a mark.
- For example, Ed Winters’ change.org campaign called on the British Fashion Council (BFC) to stop designers from using fur in their collections during London Fashion Week. Mass organised postcards on PostBug added a new dimension to the campaign by allowing supporters to send physical postcards direct to the office of the CEO of the British Fashion Council.
- Our goal is to enable people with similar beliefs to come together, harness the arresting power of physical mail and cut through the digital noise.
The revenue model is simple: we currently charge £1 per item sent, which is cheaper than buying a postcard and stamp yourself. Either the end user pays for this by buying PostBug tokens, or they pay with PayPal or their credit card. If the campaign starter/backer is a substantial organisation, they can put credits on their account with us, so their supporters get to send items for free.
Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?
Digital is disrupting our everyday lives. People are glued to their mobiles, tablets and laptops as if their life depends on it. This leads to us having to deal with an overload of information and the need to be selective in what we read or deal with.
Social media has become the number one tool for complaints, breaking news and political discourse but the platform is also very easy to ignore or quickly scroll through. Email is a quick and effective way of contacting people, but again easily ignored.
At PostBug, we’ve identified the need for a cut-through messaging service that ‘forces’ people to take notice – specifically when it comes to campaigning or supporting a cause – and so launched an easy-to-use online tool to send messages on a postcard (or formal letter) to influential people in order to support a campaign or cause. The impact of something physical is undoubtedly much higher than digital noise. 500 emails or tweets are easy to ignore. 500 postcards in your office are not.
Because of the thought required to write something and the small charge, you could say we represent “premium protest” in a sea of “clicktivism”.
Is PostBug funded?
The start-up received a pre-seed investment of £100k back in October 2016 and will be looking to launch its seed round in Q2 this year.
What were you doing before you started PostBug?
I started out as a journalist for the media trade magazine Media Week. After a few years I switched sides and set up Propeller PR, which is a B2B PR agency specialising in media, advertising and tech businesses. The business grew from initially just being myself and one employee to a mid-size agency servicing clients such as Google, News UK and Trinity Mirror and parts of agency groups like WPP and Publicis. We offer PR, content and events and I sit on the board as founder.
My PostBug co-founder Reece Campbell started his career creating a start-up app development company. He developed apps for his company and for clients which were released on the iOS and Android app stores. Yielding over 5.9 million downloads, he later sold his portfolio in 2014.
What’s the best thing about being based in London?
We are based in Soho, central London. It’s easier to get to than the east side for some people, and we can walk to a lot of our meetings. What we really like is the buzz and vibe on the streets. For example, Berwick Street market is nearby and is convenient for street food while providing that special Soho “atmosphere”.
London has been described as a collection of villages – you just need to ensure you’re in a good one, not a backwater.
To learn more about starting up in London, browse Startups’ free guides.