Content Insights wasn’t built overnight. The road we took to get where we are today was a bumpy one, filled with loads of surprises. Here’s how our journey’s looked in retrospect:
Dejan Nikolic, editor of Njuz.net, struggles to work out the best way to pay his writers (in accordance to their contributions). In addition to that, he can’t find the tools to help him solve his problem. Dejan realises there’s a gap in the market and suddenly a light bulb pops above his head.
Using his writers as guinea pigs (read: lab rats), Dejan builds the first crappy version of CPI (the Content Performance Indicator). Nobody gets paid. Dejan realizes that this is going to be harder than he originally thought.
The first founders meeting takes place in Belgrade. The main point of discussion is how to turn Dejan’s dumpster fire into something friendly and reliable. The guys come up with an idea for calculating author fees (Payformance), and Ilija builds something that actually works.
More than 30 local and regional newsrooms enlist as early adopters. The first major product redesign is completed, moving from Payformance to Author Insights (an analytics tool). Too late to turn back now!
The first beta phase is opened to all. More users gain access and the team starts to receive valuable feedback. We learn so much. There is much rejoicing, but there’s still so much to do.
We are accepted into the the Eleven Startup Acceleration program! Dejan sheds his body weight in relieved tears.
Dejan returns home to Novi Sad and starts hiring the first employees. Things start to fall into place...
The focus is slightly shifting from author to content performance. So we change our name. We’re now Content Insights. God bless the ship and its mighty crew!
People start to give us their money. Things are beginning to feel very grown up around here.
We raise the seed round investment from the Eleven fund. Dejan sheds another body-load of joyous tears. The dude is super emotional - he cries every time someone mentions Pixar’s UP.
The company is officially registered as Content Insights AD. Fanfares play in the background! If it was too late to turn back before, it’s WAY too late now.
We secure series A investment from NBM and NEVEQ. The good ship CI is now on course for global waters. Fresh out of tears, Dejan works on rebuilding his body weight.
Oz and Marina join the team as pioneers of our Data Science department. Soon after, our office starts to feel like an episode of Dexter’s Laboratory.
Dejan has another ace up his sleeve: he reveals that Jova (our doorman) has his own bunny farm and that we can all start investing in his business, in the event that it all goes south with CI. Tricky bastard.
The year of miraculous growth. In 2017, our team doubled in size - not in weight, but in numbers. We acquire the greatest talents in data science, data engineering and web development. What can we say? People are suckers for great products (though the free candy can’t have hurt either).
Our sales team strengthen our position in the European and South American markets and double our income. We crack open another family-sized box of Haribo and dance in a happy, sugar-fuelled haze.
Concerned about the amount of candy being consumed, we reconsider our treat system and invest in a ping pong table. /sad trombone sound/ The transition is so tough for some they seek therapy. ‘The Great Candy Drought’ claims more victims than we expected….
Dejan breaks his right hand. The comms* team suggests he goes full Skywalker and trade it for a robotic one (a good USP, right?). He does not. Sometimes even good ideas fail.
Having weaned ourselves off candy, we find ourselves getting super into table tennis. The dream of dominating the local business league is born and our waistlines rejoice!
Even though dominating in table tennis remains one of our main OKRs, to our great surprise we’re not that good at it. Some cry, others decide to train hard until they achieve symbiosis with their rackets. Somewhere in the office we swear we hear a cry to ‘use the force’...
We spend the first quarter of the year focused on product development. We make lots of important breakthroughs, unfortunately none of them table-tennis related.
Those good people at South Central Ventures and some steadfast, long-term investors decide that our ping pong game is no reflection of our tech prowess and we find ourselves the recipient of a $2 million investment. The entire sales* department start dressing like pimps*, until Dejan tells them not to.
Our in-house marketing team is born and we hire new salespeople to keep us up to speed with the US market. We move our HQ from Bulgaria to the USA. So long to moussaka and folk music! Hello to whiskey and cheeseburgers. We still suck at table tennis.
We start hiring marketers to help us tell the story of our analytics, work on our brand and business development. But don’t worry - we keep these weirdos locked away in a separate office, far away from normal people. Nobody wants to listen to ROI, CRO, CTR, CPL, and similar made-up words all day.
The team starts working on the new backend for our platform. We decide to rewrite the whole thing, make it faster, and add a lot of new goodies. It’s time to make this backyard rocket into a real spaceship. All dorks aboard!
Our old gal gets a new facelift. The newest version of our CPI algorithm values harmony among metrics and is more precise compared to previous versions. It’s a definite game-changer for us and our clients! Dejan's blood pressure returns to normal, for now.
We play basketball a couple of times, and it’s hell. Ivan, our Head of Web Development, nearly loses an arm. After the incident, we take Ivan to the doctor, who immobilizes his hand with a comedy-sized splint. On the plus side, in the following days, he really proves - quite literally - that he can write code with one arm tied behind his back. He’s simply that good.
Half of the company participate in a local half-marathon, while the other half have better things to do, like protect their hard-earned belly fat from danger. Some people here are very protective of their calories.
Ognjen and his band of math wizards finish developing a new Loyalty CPI, so our business team is given a task to spread the word about it. We attend a lot of conferences that month, most notable being the WAN-Ifra’s Newsroom Summit in Oslo. It is so cold, Dejan wears all his clothes at the same time.
We find a three-legged hedgehog in front of our office. We immediately pick-up the sweet spikey dude and name him Djura. Djura is with us for a while, but we know we can’t keep him. He’s simply too overqualified.
The beginning of a new year seems a good occasion as any for Dejan to tell us that if we don’t grow even more in the next couple of months, he’s going to replace us all with chickens. As you can see, the man really knows how to motivate people.
Dejan has an idea to morph Customer Success, Sales, and Marketing team into a single, super-entity called “Revenue team”. He’s been watching too much Voltron again.
Our Data Science brain Ognjen conducts a data research project in an attempt to precisely describe reader loyalty and prove his hypothesis. The new definition of the loyal reader as the “habitually highly engaged reader” is shown to be statistically accurate, consistent, and very valuable for subscription-based businesses. Dejan starts to plot world domination!
Since Content Insights has a unique and awesome company culture, we decide to start blogging about what sets our company apart from other SaaS startups. The result? The Career blog, where you can peek inside the inner machinations of CI HQ and see what makes us tick. Stop by, do!
After a lot of ups and downs, the new platform with improved performance is finally released to the world! Our developers can finally have their lives back. Just kidding - we all know that they have none.
In addition to the existing article perspective, we introduce a traffic perspective with unique segmentation enabled, updated topics analysis, established new account and organization management, and more. Since world domination is now imminent, Dejan starts practicing his evil laugh and shops for a hairless cat.
After two very productive months, the founders allow the Devs to take some time off. We suspect that their understanding of ‘recharge your batteries’ might well be literal, and while they’re away we search for their in-office docking stations. We come up short, but we do find a box of candy, and enjoy a brief sugar rush. In other news, both Milos and Olga from the Revenue team adopt cats. First Djura, now this - if the analytics game fails, we plan to open a zoo.
Ping-pong game still weaker than grandma’s knees.
Passionate about solving real life problems with just the right amount of technology. Daydreamer, beer advocate and World Pinball Champion-in-waiting.
A father and a mathematician, currently lost in software development. Applies mathematics to parenting, and parenting strategies when working with the team. Also the man who saved Dejan from his technical nightmare way back in the beginning.
Agent Zero, a.k.a. The Original Insight. Dejan is the Founder & CEO of Content Insights. He has been in publishing since the dark ages (we think quite literally). Dejan is well-known for his work in the satirical news world, his bushy beard, and his love for movies and everything that has chocolate in it. He collects vintage computers, just like every other normal human being.
Marko is the person behind our complex system of data crunching mechanisms and is also a craft beer connoisseur. He is innovative and always in a quest for the latest technologies which can help us improve our world-changing app and/or create better beer. He also loves to hike and luckily his interest in (or consumption of) beer doesn’t prevent him from taking amazing pictures from his adventures.
Kravic is our problem-solving machine. He’s our Client Support Lead. His job is to help our clients by solving technical issues, and he also provides support during the product set up the process. He is our official guitar guy and is a massive Pearl Jam fan, which means he sometimes hangs upside down from the ceiling while working.
Marko works with our clients and helps them to get to know our products, our philosophy and how to get maximum value out of them. Besides English, Marko is also fluent in Spanish, probably because he’s watched too many Mexican soap operas.
Olga is the Head of our Client Success team. Her main responsibility is to help the users get the most out of our tool. She is the Mother of Dragons, and by ‘dragons’ we mean ‘four kids’. Nobody knows how she manages to successfully balance her work and home life. Some people believe she’s a robot.
Milena is our Client Relations Manager. She is great at communicating with our clients. She is also great at darts, even while communicating with clients. Milena is also our official office child. Instead of coffee, she drinks non-alcoholic kids’ champagne. We tried also paying her in dolls and candy but unfortunately she is not that childish.
Katarina is our CEO’s EA and our beloved Office Manager. This basically makes her the Official Mom of CI. Her job is to ensure that things run smoothly around the office and that our administration is on point. She is very systematic, fearless and efficient. Katarina is also company’s CMO (Chief Medical Officer), since she always has painkillers and Band-Aids with her.
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