This article is part of a series covering the most exciting start-ups featured at the most recent TechBUZZ conference, held at AOL Fishbowl Labs. To read the rest of the articles in the series, click here.
We sat down with Esplota founder Ranieri Mestroni, and what happened next was INSANE!!
How many times have you seen a headline like this and, naturally, clicked on the link? You might be thinking to yourself, "I never click on that nonsense." But are you being honest with yourself? You never click on videos of cute puppies or hilarious swimming-pool bloopers? You weren't even mildly interested in whether the dress was white and gold or blue and black? If not, welcome to the minority, my friend.
According to Quantcast, viral content-producing websites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy boast monthly unique visitor counts of almost 250 million worldwide. As a culture, we've become obsessed with the feel-good (or feel bad for someone else), "take my mind off real problems" stories we see in our Facebook and Twitter feeds every day. Esplota.com founder and general manager Ranieri Mestroni expects this trend to continue -- in Spanish.
Esplota is a start-up focused on bringing viral daily content to an Hispanic audience. According to Mestroni, there are 52 million Spanish-speaking people in the United States and more than 500 million worldwide. He's hoping this audience is underserved enough that he can capture their attention with Buzzfeed-like content and aggressive social-media distribution. One of Mestroni's talking points in his TechBUZZ pitch video is the number of social-media followers Esplota has accumulated -- more than 261,000 on Facebook and 8,300 on Twitter. He compares this favorably to BuzzFeed Español counts of 122,000 and 32,000 respectively.
This large social-media footprint has helped Esplota reach more than 20 million monthly unique visitors in its first six months, and Mestroni is hoping his approach to content creation and distribution will help him increase those numbers dramatically. Although Esplota has only $40,000 in ad revenue thus far, Mestroni projects more than $50 million in revenue in the next four years. It's unclear whether he was projecting cumulative revenue or the annual rate at the end of the period, but in any case, it's a lofty goal, and Esplota will need to grow astronomically to achieve it. Two factors working in Esplota's favor are the rapid growth of the U.S. Hispanic population and the even faster rate at which Hispanic people around the world are adopting smartphones.
Mestroni and his team have recruited millennials to inexpensively produce compelling, viral content. These stories are not mere translations of content that already exists, but rather fresh content produced in Spanish with an eye toward embracing "Hispanic values and culture." Esplota hopes this more organic, authentic approach will attract its growing audience.
Mestroni gave a presentation on Esplota at the recent TechBUZZ conference. You can check out the video below: