I caught up with Jen last week to learn about her founder story of SuiteSocial, an online influencer marketplace.
SuiteSocial was founded by two female UC Berkeley MBAs, Sandy Liu and Jennifer DeAngelis, a former influencer brand strategist and a current micro-influencer (@jendeangelis). She got her start in social media by posting videos on YouTube when she was doing the Peace Corps in Albania and wanted to connect with friends and family back home. Her first video hit 100K views and she saw that there was a real opportunity to leverage social marketing in business. She later went to Murphy O'Brien, where she started the digital division from scratch and built out their influencer marketing program.
Where did you get the idea for SuiteSocial?
Having worked in influencer marketing in the past, I really felt the pain points of this business - brands didn’t know how much to pay and influencers didn’t know how much to charge. It can also be difficult to find and work with the right brands or influencers, so my co-founder and I built SuiteSocial to connect influencers with brands at scale and make the whole process more transparent, simple, and fair.
How has your experience as an influencer impacted you?
What is interesting is that a lot of influencers are women. However, they are generally treated as if they are only models, rather than entrepreneurs who have built a brand with thousands, if not millions, of followers. As a female founder, I am really passionate about helping people monetize their influence. I don’t want women (or men) doing these brand deals for less than they are worth, and I don’t want brands overpaying either. We built a pricing engine and vetting process to help brands and influencers to solve this problem.
3 tips for founders looking to develop their online presence:
Keep it light, bright, and polite on social media
Always do a gut check before you post to avoid unintended interpretations.
Be Authentic. You can’t build a following as a blogger without being honest because people respond more to authenticity. Your personal unique story has value and people want you to share it.
What has been the biggest lesson learned through LAUNCH?
Talking to people - our customers, influencers, brands - in person has provided tremendous value. UC Berkeley and LAUNCH have been so worth it. They have been instrumental in my growth as an entrepreneur. I recommend applying to anyone looking to start a business.
What are your future plans?
Getting funded! …and then getting an IPO... and then helping future female founders get their businesses off the ground. I want to have a relatable story about starting my business, so that other women will feel like, “if she can do it, why can’t I do it?” We can start changing the ratio of women leaders in tech and closing the income gap between men and women.
Jen is super smart, hard working and ready to make a difference for women in tech! I look forward to seeing her pitch at LAUNCH Demo Day on April 25 and be an influencer in the tech world for years to come.