Mike Lazerow is a serial entrepreneur who has started a number of successful companies including Buddy Media, the social media enterprise software company. We spoke to Mike recently about his background, the evolution of the company and the recent acquisition of Brighter Option.
The Makegood: Mike, your have founded four successful internet-based media companies: Buddy Media, U-Wire, GOLF.com, and Lazerow Consulting. What is it about entrepreneurship that you find so attractive?
I’ve always had an interest in how people made their own way in life. My dad and stepfather were entrepreneurs, and my mom was a public interest lobbyist, so there was a sense of both doing good for people and self-starting within me. I worked during summers when I was a kid, and was intrigued with how companies functioned. I was interested in how business was done. In fact, I applied to be on the board of directors of the Sally Mae Corporation when I was 13 years old. I don’t know why they would ever accept me, unless they needed a student.
The Makegood: Like many young companies, Buddy Media has evolved significantly since its launch in 2007. Can you tell us what your “ah ha” moment was like and why you decided to build a SaaS business?
On May 24, 2007, two things happened. One was Mark Zuckerberg launched the Facebook platform, which opened Facebook to developers. The second thing was my third child, Vivian, was born. I was sitting next to my wife Kass and a message appeared that said Facebook launched a platform. It immediately hit me that it would be one of the most powerful things to happen to the Internet. This would allow developers to build on top of this massive social graph, the virtual representation of real-life relationships, which is huge. Kass and I spoke and we had a mutual vision that this is where the Internet is going. The next version of the Internet is one that’s organized around people, around our relationships.
The Makegood: What are your top priorities for Buddy Media this year?
We are going to continue to grow a massive independent business by building, selling and supporting the best social marketing software suite on the market. For the past three years, Buddy Media has built software to get the right content to the right people at the right time through owned-media channels like web sites, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and others. This next year we’re focused on scaling the business globally, as we expand our offices around the world. We currently have 300 employees globally and we have tons of positions open right now. We will also continuing to lead the way with product innovation. I can’t share our product roadmap with you right now, but I’m very excited about it.
The Makegood: Buddy Media recently acquired Brighter Option, a London-based Facebook Ads API partner, to become the only company to combine social publishing, applications, analytics, commerce and paid advertising in a unified software suite. What were some of the deciding factors to go with Brighter Option over competitors?
We looked at a lot of companies in the space, more than 20 of them, actually. Brighter Option was the best, most complete self-serve software in the space. We didn’t want to acquire an agency or services company, but instead needed real technology. It was a no-brainer to choose Brighter Option after our evaluation. They were already being used by all of the major agency groups, and the team was also a fit. We’re excited to have their entire team on board.
The Makegood: Are there other acquisition candidates in the pipeline?
We’re continuing our aggressive global expansion to meet market needs for brands. We will continue to grow organically, as well as via acquisition and partnership. I can’t speak about any specifics, but that’s not going to change after our acquisition of Brighter Option.
The Makegood: Thanks, Mike.