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Marketer Bootstraps His Way to Success with Influencers

kokou adzo



Zakary Stahlsmith ApexDrop

We talked to Zakary Stahlsmith of ApexDrop about the use of micro-influencers to drive traffic to social media channels and websites.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? 

Zakary Stahlsmith: My family and I are doing the best we can, we recently adopted a German shepherd puppy named Coffey, so we’re adjusting to the new fur baby in the house.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded ApexDrop.

Zakary Stahlsmith: I’m a serial entrepreneur with a marketing background who found great success in helping companies grow. I founded ApexDrop in 2015 with one principal in mind, to help brands grow authentically through micro-influencers. I sold my home and literally bootstrapped my way to success. ApexDrop is the world’s first fully managed micro-influencer agency in North America. We connect content creators with brands to build awareness and authentically share products they love with their followers.   

How does ApexDrop innovate? 

Zakary Stahlsmith: We think differently than our competition and base most of our decisions around how the influencers’ fans will react to content. This perspective has helped us create processes that encourage authenticity and staying genuine rather than doing things because you get paid. ApexDrop recently launched its own campaign management app available on the App Store for creators to discover new collaboration opportunities.  

How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

Zakary Stahlsmith: Our team was prepared to make the transition to remote work pretty quickly, as all of our business is conducted online. We did not, however, anticipate that after almost 7 months we would continue to be working remotely. This unprecedented time has allowed us to really explore opportunities for diversification, develop strategic partnerships, and dig deep into our internal processes to execute at a more efficient level.  

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

Zakary Stahlsmith: The hardest decision was the choice to HODL, or Hold on for Dear Life. We decided we would push through the pandemic and stay on the course and attempt to grow rather than pull back. This was risky as the company had no guarantees and had to spend a lot of the profits we earned over the years to help us stay afloat during the worst of it.

How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and ApexDrop in the future?

Zakary Stahlsmith: Exercise, video games, and meditation.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Zakary Stahlsmith: There are many influencer marketing agencies and self-service platforms available for brands who prefer to do the work in-house, but there is only one micro-influencer agency with the Trust Quantification engine that certifies influencers based on trust. Most social media channels will go out of style. Even “influencers” will go out of style. But trust never goes out of style. Trust is not a commodity to be bought and sold. It’s to be earned and nurtured. We stay in the game because the trust in our relationships is our biggest asset.   

Your final thoughts?

Zakary Stahlsmith: You have to be a little crazy to be an entrepreneur. Remember to enjoy the ride. The obstacle truly is the way.

Your website? 

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at

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