Monday 18 February 2019

MarketFinder: Identifying customers that drive online revenues

Gabrielle Monaghan

Maeve Kneafsey’s talent for predicting the fortunes of e-commerce and online marketing dates back to the late 1990s, when she was general manager of Hoson, the publisher of magazines such as In Dublin and Magill.

In 1999, Hoson had just bought the Golden Spider Awards, the precursor to the Eircom Spiders, the country’s longest-standing internet awards, and acquired magazine. Kneafsey suggested to the board of directors that they move more publications online.

“They didn’t quite get me so I decided to leave,” says Kneafsey, a former chairperson of the Irish Internet Association. “I could see all of the limits and costs of (traditional) media, because there was only so much space in newspapers and only so much air time in broadcasting, and see the endless opportunities that were developing online.”

By 2003, Hoson had folded and Kneafsey was on the second of her five online ventures, the latest of which is MarketFinder, which she set up in October. The startup’s main product, Power to Convert, enables companies to identify how to attract more customers to their websites and drive online revenue. MarketFinder already counts a number of Irish banks among its clients, though Kneafsey says they are reluctant to be identified.

MarketFinder was awarded €50,000 in funding by Enterprise Ireland in January to finance its international expansion and last month entered the UK market, where it is in talks to sell Power to Convert to two banks.

The Trinity College graduate’s career trajectory has come a long way since she began working as a sales manager in London in the 1980s for VNU, the Dutch media company that acquired Nielsen. After having the first of her three children, she moved back to Ireland and became marketing director of Attic Press, before taking a job as a commercial manager at The Sunday Tribune.

After leaving Hoson, she set up the digital consultancy Amas in 2001, at the height of the dotcom era, with Aileen O’Toole, a co-founder of The Sunday Business Post. Two years later, she founded Elucidate, now one of Ireland’s oldest digital marketing firms.

Kneafsey remains a shareholder in Elucidate, though she stepped down as chief executive in January to focus on MarketFinder.

“Elucidate had a strong client base from the word go but MarketFinder is a different kind of challenge,” she says. “Although I have experience setting up lots of enterprises, I wanted one that would scale up internationally.”



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