Invoke was established in 2000 by three founders: David Tedman, Dario Meli, and Ryan Holmes. The company adds value through creating innovative digital experiences. Since the fusion of Invoke labs and Invoke media in October 2014, they have had two main kinds of activities: 1. they are well known for creating digital products such as the HootSuite or Brightkit and 2. they also support tech start-ups.
They define themselves as an accelerator for brands. They use the word “accelerator” because they use similar tools as incubators but in a different model (not necessarily with an equity relationship for example). They work with different kinds of companies ranging from start-ups to well established brands and are really interested in solving real business problems, not just in doing advertising campaigns. Invoke builds a bridge between big brands and start-ups to gather their resources. They aim at creating products that are more valuable for the customers. They help start-ups to connect with their users, to reach more customers, to develop their products and to learn how to do a good pitch. For instance, they help companies such as NBC, NHS, WestBank, Save on Foods, Eat St., and many other customers.
Invoke is selective with its clients for several reasons. First, there are only 22 employees in the company. Second, culture fit is huge, they need their customers to be willing to take risks and change their habits. Third, they do not want to do only marketing campaigns but they want to be useful. That is why they do not have a set program and base their services on particular needs of each company.
We were wondering what is the interest for established brands to add start-up spirit to their company. Invoke’s answer was to say that start-ups and established companies are all fighting for the same customers in the same market. They are not necessarily facing the same challenges but they have definitely something in common. Established brands do not like to take risks but making them think as start-ups allow them to change their way of doing business. Indeed, not having a start-up spirit can sometimes be really dangerous for a brand. For example, Blockbuster was a really famous brand, and did not take seriously the creation of one start-up called Netflix. However, the business model of Netflix has been completely successful and now this start-up takes a big part of the market.
That’s why start-up spirit is so important for Invoke, and why they are always looking for employees with an innovative spirit. Most of them have an entrepreneurship background and Invoke itself has created several products that became independent companies. One of their product is for example an app for business: “Control: Business on the go”. The control board helps the creators of start-ups to manage it, to see all the numbers of their company, and understand how to run it better.
After this presentation of the company, we had a tour of the office. It was an open-space with desks gathered according to the departments people are working in. The meeting rooms were transparent and named after famous movie characters usually having moustaches or significant hair style. A dog was quietly wandering around the desks and there was a nice space for leisure time with a kitchen, sofas, books and a baby foot.. All of this made the general atmosphere friendly and it seemed to be a very good working environment.
We really want to thank Chris, the managing director, Duncan, the head of strategy, Claire and Ian for their warm welcoming.
Written by Inès BERGEROO-CAMPAGNE, Margaux CHAMBON, Alice DUX, Amaléa RIVET