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Startup Spotlight: Interview with Mark Itwaru CEO of Peek social

We had a chance to chat with Mark Itwaru CEO of Peek Social an e-commerce enabled live streaming social network that was voted number 1 tech company by the Toronto Venture exchange in 2016.

Before he became a serial entrepreneur Mark worked at AT&T Canada designing wide area networks for financial and governmental institutions. Today he is a serial entrepreneur with 18 years experience running payment processing companies and holds various patents on e-commerce carrier billing, QR code based mobile payments transactions, ultrasonic sound codes for payment processing, mobile device gesture based payment systems and distributed wallet accounts for international money remittances.

Here’s the brief interview we had with Mark Itwaru.

So how did you come up with the concept of Peek Social, an app that has climbed to being the 8th top grossing social app in the US for in app purchases in the Android Store and #30 in iOS just an year since its launch Peeks?

I saw that the existing social media applications had a critical lack of e-commerce/social commerce capabilities.  There are numerous apps where people can interact via calls, texts, messages, photos, videos.  That being said the ability to transact with one’s peers through these platforms does not exist in the market.  Furthermore on apps where users could get sponsored IF they had a large enough social following, the ability to choose contextual sponsors relevant to the content being created was extremely limited and only to content creators with following in the hundreds of thousands.  Peeks Social democratizes this for every day social media content creators.  A Peeks Social streamer can log on, choose a sponsor in their very first stream, then stream, earn and then spend via a Peeks Social Visa Debit Card–  all in real time!

How do you make money off Peek Social?

To generate revenue, Peeks Social has a revenue share program for both cost-per-install and and cost-per-impression marketing programs through the OfferBox. Basically we share in the add revenue from streamers using our ad platform.  Furthermore, we also have a Get-Popular feature where streamers can pay to have their streams featured more prominently thus gaining more followers and earning more Adshare revenue.Peak Social 

Secondly, Peeks Social receives a percentage of all tips given in the platfrom. Depending on the status of the streams that can be between 30-50% of tips received.

What is the biggest accomplishment Peek social has had in the last one year?

The biggest accomplishment for Peeks Social is the amount of revenues the company has been able to generate given the amount of resources we had at the time of launch.  Whereas most other social media platforms first start by buying market share and then trying to determine how to monetize their audience base, Peeks Social started generating revenues from the very first day of launch.  For the first 9 months of 2017 the company generated CAD$ 2.98 million in Revenues.  We are approaching our fiscal year end and will have fully consolidated revenues out at the end of June 2018.  We expect to show continuous quarter over quarter growth in new registrations, and revenues since the very first quarter we launched.  Given the fact that we’ve only raised approximately CAD$ 6million dollars in April 2017, the Company has made tremendous progress!

What’s the most important thing you’re working on right now, and how are you making it happen?

We are working on several initiatives to diversify the content offering on the platform to satisfy our global audience.  Peeks Social has been downloaded in over 120 countries and has a diverse and cutting edge user base.  We are focusing on providing geographically specific content through content acquisition and nurturing social media influences across our key markets: North America, Middle east and Western Europe.  We are exploring regional partnerships to further penetrate Asian markets as well.

Who are your main competitors and how are you staying ahead of the pack?

Our main competitors are other live streaming social media platforms and frankly other streaming content providers.  Peeks Social provides a unique platform which combines the best elements of both streaming and social media platforms to create a TV like experience where one can watch unique professionally produced content as well as user generated content all on a platform which facilitates e-commerce capabilities through proprietary and patented technologies.

What obstacles are you still working through?

Our biggest obstacle at this point is market awareness.  Peeks Social is in a highly competitive market segment with entrenched players who’ve had years head starts and significantly more dollars deployed for development and marketing.  That being said, our unique product offering has quickly propelled Peeks Social to the 8th highest ranking for in app purchases on the Android Appstore and #30 on the iOS store. Since marketing outreach is a function of dollars spent, it is just a matter of time for Peeks Social to gain global traction at a viral scale!

How do you see Peek Social Changing over time?

We envision Peeks Social evolving into a multi-media distribution portal available across a variety of distribution platforms.  Peeks Social technologies will facilitate the next generation of social commerce by combining the best elements of media, social media and e-commerce into one streamlined platform.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Peeks Social will be well on its way to being installed on every telephone, TV and mobile device around the world as a default platform for sharing and monetizing content.

Have you raised money or are you thinking of raising funds?

Peeks Social completed a financing round in April 2017 for 6.4m CAD.  We are currently evaluating the next round of growth financing.

From one of your press releases in April, Peek social is now accepting bitcoins. Congratulations for that. How is that working for you so far?

The launch of bitcoin compatibility for the Peeks Social wallet was a further demonstration of the comprehensive suite of payment technologies built into the Peeks Social wallet.  The current inability of Cryptocurrencies to be spent ubiquitously around the world represents a fundamental issue to the widespread adoption of crypto currency.  Peeks Social users can redeem Bitcoins to their wallets for immediate use.  Normally a redemption on a Bitcoin sale can take a user several weeks to receive FIAT currency for spending.  Peeks Social wallet allows people to spend Bitcoins within 15 minutes.  Another world first form Peeks Social.  We have begun test marketing campaigns and have received fantastic feedback so far.  Those campaigns will be ramped up after another financing round.

Crypto-currency has been hailed as the future, do you agree? How do you think it’s all going to impact the future and how do you see the sector evolving with time?

I definitely agree that crypto currencies are here to stay due to the high adoption rates among millennials.  The challenge for wide spread adoption will be acceptance by merchants and retailers who cannot and will not deal with the price volatility that crypto currencies currently have.  The Peeks Social wallet will facilitate the early adoption of those crypto currencies and Peeks Social intends to be at the forefront of those payment technologies moving forward

 There are so many exciting product features, upgrades initiatives and new technologies we are currently working on to list.  I do encourage everyone to download the app today and see for themselves, why we grown so far so fast. 

 

Thanks for your time, and good luck with everything.

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