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1 March 2023
Meet Flowla, turning email ping-pong into engaging digital journeys

Meet Flowla, turning email ping-pong into engaging digital journeys

Creating a startup is always challenging. Founding one during a tech downturn, cost of living crisis and recession seems near impossible. However, with risk comes reward and many of the world’s most successful companies were founded during times of economic uncertainty. As part of a series with Antler, Maddyness has interviewed founders hoping to become the entrepreneurial success stories to emerge from this time of crisis. This week, Maddyness spoke to Erdem Gelal, cofounder and CEO of Flowla.

Think about your email inbox. You have three times more emails now compared to a few years ago, but your available time hasn’t tripled. Your inbox has turned into a notification feed – good to stay in the know, but horrible when it comes to engaging prospects.  

If you’re a sales person trying to close deals, align stakeholders and build engagement, you desperately need a better medium. 

I’ve previously built and sold a sales automation solution and witnessed first-hand the magic of unifying the buyer’s journey in a link. Flowla is the output of that experience, designed to scale. 

Can you share your elevator pitch?

Flowla helps B2B revenue teams turn their sales process into a step-by-step digital journey, combining all sales resources, actions and communication. 

Unifying the entire buyer’s journey in a single, personalised link helps teams stand out, eliminate friction and collaborate with buyers, leading to faster sales cycles and increased win rates. 

Basically, we turn the email ping-pong into engaging digital journeys that grab attention and win deals. 

Can you tell our readers about your engagement with Antler?

We’re happy to have Antler participate in our pre-seed round. While we raised as an external investment and did not participate in a residency for founders, we were still welcomed into a global and growing community and enjoyed all the perks and benefits that came with it. 

We are deeply impressed by the level of personal contact and help we continue to get from the team. 

Tell us about the working culture at Flowla?

Flowla is a London HQ’d company with a globally distributed team. 

In contrast to the recent trend of “going back to the office” we are remote-first and have this embedded in our DNA. This lets us build a diverse team and offer a joyful and balanced work life. 

We cherish our bi-annual in-person meetups that let us bond and explore different parts of the world. 

What has been your biggest challenge so far and how have you overcome this?

It’s very true that people do not buy from companies, they buy from people. 

In our quest to build a successful company, the priority has always been, and will probably continue to be, building a talented and harmonious team. 

It starts with the founding team, scales to the first set of employees and onwards. Our major challenge is to build a system of working that both praises individual contribution and is scalable. When it comes to people, we never optimise for time, but always for quality. 

What’s in store for the future?

We’re going to double down on the “flow” element of Flowla! 

The step-by-step experience we’ve built makes it easy and fun to browse through the sales resources – just like Instagram Stories. We were thrilled by the initial reaction and have full conviction to take it to the next level. 

The flows will soon turn into more complex workflows, supporting business rules of each sales team, helping them virtually handhold the prospects towards closing. Our vision is to become the default customer-facing medium for all these processes that struggle to survive in long email threads.  

How has the cost of living crisis and the tech downturn impacted your experience building Flowla? 

Interestingly, we’re observing more demand for Flowla in the current climate. The growing focus on profitability is driving indecision, and increasing the number of stakeholders involved in a deal. We’ve designed Flowla to perfectly address these points and we’re helping teams become better at storytelling, build alignment, and achieve more with less through repeatable processes.

Interpreting the current demand, I can confident that buyer enablement is going to be the next trend in B2B sales. 

What barriers have you faced in realising your entrepreneurial ambitions? How can we make entrepreneurship more accessible in the UK? 

It really takes blood, sweat and tears to build entrepreneurial know-how. 

Access to the right set of information and people at the right time is the key to accelerate this journey. We need more, and better qualified, mentorship programmes to facilitate this transfer of experience.

What one piece of advice would you give other founders or future founders?

Spend at least 20% of your time learning from others. Talk to other founders, talk to people who have the experience you don’t, read books. Combining all these different perspectives will give you a 360 degree view of your business, product and audience. It also helps calibrate your way of thinking which feels really satisfying! 

And finally, a more personal question! What’s your daily routine and the rules you’re living by at the moment?

I am an early riser. I genuinely enjoy my mornings where I journal, plan and ease into the day. 

I work from a co-working space, which at times gives me a better environment to focus and do deep work. I love cooking; I enjoy experimenting with different tastes and investing my time to prepare my food. 

While I am deeply invested in building Flowla and occasionally prioritise it over other areas of my life, I have one rule I always try to stick to: health comes first!

Erdem Gelal is the cofounder and CEO of Flowla.

Antler is one of the world’s most active early-stage investors. With 900 portfolio companies in 27 countries, they have a global community of early-stage founders addressing the world’s biggest challenges.