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Startup Adventures: From Birthday Box to Influanza

Couldn’t keep myself away for too long from startups and co-founded Birthday Box, a mobile app to celebrate birthdays, last year. After we launched our MVP, we were having difficulty to find sticky customers that kept using our product for more just couple of days (maybe birthdays aren’t that cool after all?). As a solution, we tried influencer marketing tools and had very bad experience!

Spoiler: Influanza started through a problem faced by another startup!

Before we could start working with our first influencer, it took us couple of weeks to negotiate and select an influencer. As a result; unfortunately, we only received few clicks to our website in return of spending $50. Moreover, the influencer marketing tool we chose lacked very key qualities:

  • Did not guide us to find the right influencer
  • It was expensive for a startup like ours
Intrigued by the rising market potential of influencer marketing, I told myself: “If done right, one can create a scaleable influencer marketing solution for startups & SMB’s.”. In other words, I found myself another interesting problem to solve!

Around that time, I wasn’t happy with how things were going with Birthday Box (problems with product & its timing). Through some luck and open-mindedness, I met an experienced angel investor & mentor: Ömer Erkmen aka Enabler. He then introduced me to Selcuk Kiziltug, who has been also investigating influencer marketing space. Since the very first days we met, he has been my co-founder at Influanza. Previously, he was involved with 2 successful exit stories (Mekanist and FlightRecorder).

On January of 2016, we surveyed 250 startups & influencers and interviewed 50 more to define a solution for startups.

From feedback, we started building:

Influanza, organic influencer marketing platform for startups ( And launched a beta version in March, which offers two key solutions:
  • Guides startups to work together with right micro-influencers (targeted)
  • Allows them to work with free product or service exchange (low cost)

Since our beta launch, we helped 50 startups connect with the right influencers. We look forward to growing our community and making our platform more useful every single day!

If you have any questions or comments regarding Influanza, feel free to send us a note:

Best Regards,
Sercan Lir
Co-founder @Influanza

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