Péter Szekeres, Co-Founder and CEO of Neticle tells us about providing solutions to businesses with a lot of textual data.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Péter Szekeres: Thank you for your concern; we’re doing fine. The extended Neticle family is also doing great despite the circumstances, though we’ve had to reprioritize a bit and focus more on our mental health. The majority of the team is now working remotely from home, so we keep track of our team’s overall wellbeing with an in-house survey called Team Health Check. We also make an effort to pay extra attention to each other in seemingly small but important ways; for example, we almost always turn our cameras on for meetings, and we try to make sure that the company updates and info reach everybody.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Neticle.
Péter Szekeres: Throughout my career, I have been focusing on how automated text analysis and related AI technologies can support decision-making and the daily work of marketers. My tech specialities include natural language processing, fact-based decision support as well as text-, opinion- and data mining.
I graduated as a Business Information Technologist from Corvinus University of Budapest (BCE). In 2012, me and two of my fellow BCE graduates – Zoltán Csikós and Róbert Horváth – founded the text and media analysis company Neticle. During our studies, we realized that providing solutions to businesses with a lot of textual data was something that we could be good at. We had the necessary tech knowledge, and we also really wanted to try our hand at building a startup. That’s how Neticle came to be.
We now manage a company that is one of the fastest-growing B2B SaaS scale-ups in Hungary, providing text analytics solutions in 19 countries, mostly in the CEE and DACH region. Our clientele ranges from SMEs to large enterprises, as the company boosts business decisions with two major products. Neticle Media Intelligence is a smart social listening tool that collects and analyses an enormous amount of publicly available online content – including the text’s underlying sentiments – in real-time. Another flagship product is Zurvey.io, a professional survey maker and feedback analyzer geared for a better customer and employee experience.
How does Neticle innovate?
Péter Szekeres: We are always listening to clients’ feedback and requests and studying prominent media insight analysis methods. Then we try to add the more advanced features with clean programming and the smoothest appearance possible.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Péter Szekeres: A few of our clients have had to cut back on marketing or PR budgets (especially in the hotel and recreation sector), which affected our cooperation and, therefore, our finances. However, there has been no major setback. Most of our clients know that social listening is a good investment in the long term.
Even in those cases where the cooperation had to be suspended, we try to maintain the partnership and support these companies by leaving some alerts/notifications on for them, which we know is especially important during a crisis.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Péter Szekeres: I am proud to say that we did not have to let go of anybody. On the contrary: we hired several colleagues, especially at the beginning of 2021. This tells me that we are on the right track, though we cannot sit back and relax – there’s a lot of work to do if we mean to keep up the current growth rate and stick to our plans.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Péter Szekeres: One of the major lessons of our years spent building Neticle was that it is not enough to have a good product; it is extremely important to adopt a consultancy approach. That’s why our team of dedicated Client Success Managers works hard to answer all of our clients’ questions and work out unique solutions to meet all sorts of needs.
We use HubSpot and its chat function to keep track of our contacts and targets, and we provide free demos to potential clients who can easily book those through our website. We also use Zurvey.io, our own development, to track satisfaction regarding our products, services, and even our marketing materials, such as blog posts and newsletters.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Péter Szekeres: No, we didn’t – Neticle stayed afloat courtesy of our own efforts.
Your final thoughts?
Péter Szekeres: Since this interview focuses on the effects of the pandemic on businesses, I would like to mention that in 2020, Neticle was announced as The Best Crisis-Agile Startup of the Year by The Startup and Innovation Award of Hungary. This award recognizes outstanding startups and startup minds, so we are very proud of this result.