Teenage Entrepreneur Yan Gorshtenin Has Big Plans for Netlodge, His On-Line Platform for Entrepreneurs
In this interview with Yan Gorshtenin, founder & CEO of Netlodge, we discuss his entrepreneurial journey, the creation of Netlodge, and what’s coming next. Yan describes himself as a highly energetic and motivated strategy and operations professional. He has experience in marketing, analytics, and strategic partnership experience and, has a successful track record of meeting multiple deadlines, troubleshooting, and strategic problem solving. In addition to Netlodge, Yan is a highly rated web developer on Fiverr. He has strong knowledge in the areas of web application, product development, social media marketing, software engineering and user experience design. He first started his own company at the age of 14, and at the time of the interview Yan had just turned 16 years-old. Yan speaks English and Russian.
Patrick: Hi, this is Patrick Henry, the CEO of QuestFusion, with the Real Deal…What Matters. We’re here today with Yan Gorshtenin from Netlodge. Yan is a young entrepreneur. He describes himself as a highly energetic and motivated strategy and operations professional.
He also does web development. He is a highly rated web developer on Fiverr. He has experience in marketing, analytics and strategic partnerships. He has a successful track record in meeting multiple deadlines, troubleshooting and strategic problem solving.
He is a very accomplished entrepreneur for someone who just turned 16 years old. He actually started the company when he was 14, which is really cool. I had my first entrepreneurial experience when I was 14 as well. I ran a 50-50 lottery out of my junior high school bus, but I ended up having a lot of competition so I had to shut it down.
Yan is an experienced developer who wants to make an impact on small but growing technical teams. He has strong knowledge in the areas of web applications, product development, social media marketing, software engineering and user experience design.
He started his own company at the age of 14. Yan speaks a couple of languages, English and Russian. Luckily for me, we’re going to conduct the interview today in English. Welcome, Yan.
Yan: Thank you.
Patrick: I understand you just had your 16th birthday. Congratulations on that. When did you start Netlodge? What was the original idea?
Yan: I started Netlodge on April 1st of 2014. The original idea was for entrepreneurs to show their idea of their brand on their content platform.
Patrick: Has the business model changed over time?
Yan: It’s going to soon. It’s freemium. Now it’s going to be a pro plan.
Patrick: A freemium means that all of the content is for free.
Patrick: The revenue is ad driven, whereas the way you’re going to go now will be the option for an upgrade, like a subscription based service.
Yan: Yes, an upgrade.
Patrick: Tell me a little bit about the concept behind that.
Yan: You’re going to have your own panel where you can download videos, post videos on the live feed, start your own ad listing for your startup, post job notifications and updates.
Patrick: It’s going to be a much more feature-rich type of platform for entrepreneurial startups?
Yan: Yes, you can use HD videos and live streaming.
Patrick: How does Netlodge make money today? How do you see it going over time?
Yan: First, with ads and then selling $11.99 per month subscriptions.
Patrick: You run banner ads?
Yan: They are for free media for five seconds.
Patrick: Do you run ads on the videos themselves?
Yan: Yes. The ones that are on our platform, not from YouTube.
Patrick: Describe what video hosting platforms you use.
Yan: We use YouTube, SoundCloud, Vimeo, Metacafé and Vine. Plus, we have our own uploader where you can post gif images and videos. You can upload on your own category.
Patrick: Tell me about your platform. Do you have your own encoding platform? Do you have video hosting?
Yan: We have video hosting. You can have your own channel, playlists and profile.
Patrick: Is that only sold through Netlodge?
Patrick: It’s only available through Netlodge. What do you call your video platform?
Patrick: Can you explain to our audience of entrepreneurs, who are your target clients, the value proposition that Netlodge can offer to them?
Yan: Netlodge allows startup thought leaders to promote their exclusive videos on our platform, making growth instead of paying hundreds to marketing firms. Basically, it’s free growth.
Patrick: Is there a plugin strategy? Let’s say I have a Facebook business page, a Google+ page and a Twitter feed. I want to plug my Netlodge feed into that. Is there an API or some easy way to do that?
Yan: Yes, in a few months. We’re working on that. But we can pulse it to all the social networks. After 15 minutes of your video posting, it uploads to your social networks.
Patrick: The Netlodge social networks?
Patrick: You use your social networks as a platform to promote these different startups that are a part of your different client spheres?
Patrick: On the flip side, live video is getting big. I don’t know if it’s hype or if it will be big long term. We’ll see. You have Meerkat that came and went. You have Periscope, which is associated with Twitter. You have Facebook live. You have a lot of people doing videos on Snapchat. How does Netlodge fit in with all of this stuff that’s going on with live video?
Yan: Instead of using all of those platforms, you just use ours and it gets out there to entrepreneurs and startups.
Patrick: You can do your own live video stuff. You have a competing product with the big horizontal platforms?
Patrick: But you’re focused on a specific vertical. You’re focused on entrepreneurial startups.
Patrick: Can you do it both ways, just like you use YouTube, Vimeo and these other stored video platforms?
Yan: You can.
Patrick: If you do a Periscope or Facebook live and it gets recorded, you can put that on Netlodge?
Yan: You can Twitch onto our platform.
Patrick: If you had to give me your elevator pitch, what exactly is Netlodge?
Yan: It’s the Netflix for startups.
Patrick: How big is the market for your services?
Patrick: 240,000 subscribers?
Patrick: That’s how many you have today?
Patrick: But the market is much larger than that, right? The number of entrepreneurial startups out there that want to have some type of video presence on the web is a lot bigger than that, isn’t it?
Yan: Of course.
Patrick: I think it’s in the millions. How does the service work? If I was an entrepreneur who wanted to use your platform to promote QuestFusion, how would I go about doing that?
Yan: First you create an account. You can log in with Twitter, Facebook, Google or email. You upload your videos. And that’s all.
Patrick: If I have videos right now that I’m uploading onto YouTube and Vimeo, I can use that same raw video and upload that through your platform?
Yan: Yes, or you can paste the link from Vimeo into our platform. It automatically gets it.
Patrick: This is just another vehicle for me to promote to other entrepreneurs?
Yan: Yes. Again, it’s free growth.
Patrick: That’s interesting. I noticed you have a significant amount of curated content. This is content developed by other people and posted on other sites. How do you decide what to post out of the curated content? For example, I saw a couple of interviews with Tony Robbins, the famous personal development speaker and coach. How do you make the decisions about what to post in the curated content area?
Yan: If you like the content, we like the content. It’s the best of both worlds.
Patrick: Is there an approach that you have? Do you follow certain channels or people?
Yan: Yes, we have a top ten.
Patrick: Then you sort through their content?
Yan: Yes, like TechCrunch, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc., 500 Startups and This Week in Startups.
Patrick: I do read the newspaper every once in a while, but I don’t get most of my news from the newspaper. By the time it’s there, it’s already old news. I get most of my news online. I do have some RSS feeds. The biggest thing I use right now is Twitter. I have Twitter lists. Is that how you keep organized? Do you use Twitter?
Yan: Yes, that’s our main focus.
Patrick: Do you have revenue and a clear path to profitability?
Yan: In a couple of weeks we will, once we release the pro plan.
Patrick: But you have revenue today based on your ad strategy, right?
Yan: Yes. But it depends month to month.
Patrick: So you’re not consistently profitable?
Patrick: What does the competitive landscape look like for Netlodge?
Yan: We have a growth incentive. There is Vimeo and YouTube, but we’re focused on startups mainly.
Patrick: Vimeo and YouTube are horizontal platforms. Is there anyone out there doing what you’re doing, where they’re focused on providing this?
Patrick: As I understand it, you said it’s Netflix for startups. It’s about having the ability as a startup to post your content on a platform that’s from entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.
Yan: We’re the first to market it.
Patrick: No one else is doing what you’re doing?
Patrick: Then you’re adding additional functionality to the pro plan, including some of the social sharing?
Yan: It’s what we call Netlodge 2.0.
Patrick: Is there any intellectual property that you have in the product? How do you defend your position with that?
Yan: We’re processing a trademark. That’s what we’re going to do. Maybe we’ll copyright it.
Patrick: Is this a hobby or do you expect this to be a big business?
Patrick: You think you’ll be able to IPO this company?
Patrick: That’s very cool. There are a lot of challenges in that. I’ve taken a company public. Good luck with that. That’s cool.
Yan: Thank you.
Patrick: Is there anything else that you wanted to add for our audience of entrepreneurs out there?
Yan: Use Netlodge to grow your startup.
Patrick: Do you have any insights as an entrepreneur so that you can impart some of your advice and experience?
Yan: It definitely helped me to grow my startup, using my own startup. There’s a lot of great content.
Patrick: There’s a lot of great content out there from entrepreneurial startups?
Patrick: In the coaching area?
Yan: In every area–sales, marketing, coaching. There is everything you can think of.
Patrick: You learned a lot just by working on Netlodge and the people that you’re watching? You’re learning from the people that are all your clients.
Patrick: This was awesome. Yan and his mom made the drive down from L.A. today. We’re in San Diego. It was awesome to have him here. I’m very proud of you. This is very exciting. I wish you all the best. It was nice to meet you.
Yan: Thank you. It was nice to meet you, too.
Patrick: This is Patrick Henry, the CEO of QuestFusion, with the Real Deal…What Matters.
This is Patrick Henry, CEO of QuestFusion, with The Real Deal…What Matters.