Lessons Learned Raising $3.4m from Angels and Building AI Platform with CEO Kate Chernis of

With the social marketing world becoming more competitive, using the right words to maximize engagement on your sites is becoming increasingly necessary. However, choosing the best words to capture your target audience's attention can be time-consuming. This is where comes in. Kate Chernis tells Geordie all about it, and you cannot afford to miss this insightful episode.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Lessons Kate learned while working as a DJ
  • Importance of starting your business instead of waiting to plan
  • How Lately integrates into a client's social channels to improve engagement
  • The difference between Kate's previous spreadsheet system and Lately
  • What was Lately's hard feature that accelerated the company’s growth?

In this episode…

Transitioning from DJing to entrepreneurship was a no mean feat for Kate. She vividly remembers her days broadcasting to millions of listeners on the radio. During her stint on the radio, Kate says she had a team frame things for her, something she has practiced in her Lately development journey. Like in any other career journey, Kate learned critical lessons as a DJ, which she mentions in this podcast.

According to Kate, music is a powerful way of stimulating the human brain and triggering various emotions. This plays a significant role in instilling trust among listeners and customers alike. What is the connection between music and writing? Listen to the podcast for Kates's explanation.

While music was an exciting career for Kate, you may wonder why she left. One of the reasons Kate mentions is a hostile working environment, among other reasons you will learn about in the podcast. Still, she is keen to highlight the struggles, self-doubt, and a chronology of things she experienced before finally hanging the boots. She had to pay an intern to handle her typing tasks at some point.

During this phase, Kate learned about voice-activated software. She narrates how she managed to purchase the software. Her wake-up call came from her dad, Kate says. Find out how her dad helped her change her career trajectory. Kate mentions how she met her fans over lunch, who turned out to be investors. They promised to invest $50,000 in any company she chose to start. Kate's first stint at entrepreneurship was a music widget. She expounds on this in the podcast.

Following her exemplary marketing skills, she met someone who offered to pay her lots of money for her services, marking her exit from the music industry. With the help of her aunt, Kate invested time in building a spreadsheet to help Walmart in its organization and marketing ventures. Her efforts would later form the foundation of what Lately does, with the spreadsheet system earning Walmart a 130% return on investment annually, three years in a row.

Kate's company connects to a client's social channel and studies as much analytics as possible for the past year. She mentions that her team developed a model that determines your brand voice and establishes the messaging that helped you gain the most engagement. The system then breaks down the sentence structures, phrases, ideas, and words before feeding them on Lately. Listen to Kate's comprehensive explanation of how their system works and what to expect.

The idea of Lately was birthed out of the need to advance from the spreadsheet system into excellent and engaging national messaging that could teach clients what to change to boost engagement at a local level. During this phase, Kate received tremendous support from Steve, a guy she calls a serial investor and entrepreneur who became a co-founder of Lately but later left. Steve would invest $25,000 from his pocket and invite another co-founder to help build the wireframes. If you're an aspiring entrepreneur, pay special attention to this podcast section.

Kate narrates an awe-inspiring story of how they raised $40,000 only to spend it inexplicably. Get all the details in the podcast. Along the way, Kate and her team made various mistakes but learnt numerous lessons, with the core lesson being that loyalty is critical to business success. As an entrepreneur, only some people on your team will support your dreams. Due to this, you need someone to hold things down when push comes to shove to keep the entity afloat. Kate's inaugural angel investment came from Isaac Oates of Justworks.

Equity wise, Kate says she's at 29.9%. Raising capital is challenging, Kate says, reiterating that many angel investors are ready to say no to an investment proposal. When Kate and her team noticed that many of their customers were using one of their features, they adopted new methods of promoting it. Listen to Kate as she explains how doing that turned out to be a learning process for the entire team, helping them scale the heights.