SalesTechStar Interview with David Levin, Chief Executive Officer at Poppulo

David Levin, Chief Executive Officer at Poppulo talks about the benefits of using workplace experience platforms to drive team communication and coordination efforts:


Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat David, tell us about yourself and more about the Poppulo platform…we’d love to hear about the journey so far and the merger between the multiple brands to create this unified image: how does this change benefit the users and how does it boost impact in the market?

I’ve been the CEO of this great organization for the last 17 years, and I can honestly say that I’ve never been more excited about our future than right now. Individually, each organization we’ve brought together has been a category leader in their respective spaces: Four Winds Interactive (FWI) with digital signage, Poppulo with email and mobile employee comms, and SmartSpace with workplace management. But together, under one unified brand, and with one platform that solves for employee comms, customer comms, and workplace management, we can provide more value for businesses today. And that’s what has me so excited about what we’ve built—our ability to better serve the needs of the modern enterprise.

Our unified brand sets the stage for a unique communication solution for the three interlinked imperatives of enterprises today: employee, workplace, and customer experience. Our Poppulo Harmony platform will enable organizations to streamline communications for employee audiences through multiple channels, including email, digital signage, mobile, intranet, and enterprise social networks. It brings together organizational and operational comms—with more powerful analytics and personalization capabilities.

We got to unveil our plans to our customers first at our recent user conference and got some outstanding feedback. Hearing first-hand how our vision is landing with our customers truly makes all the hard work worth it.

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How are employee and workplace experience platforms becoming more integral to the overall tech ecosystem? Can you talk about the growth of these systems and what features are most in-demand today?

These types of technologies are becoming more integral to the overall tech ecosystem because successful companies are realizing the extent to which the employee experience defines the customer experience and the financial bottom line—and that communication is key to both.

Today’s employees simply expect more. They want a workplace that’s flexible, collaborative, and engaging. And they expect any tech they use to be easy. If it’s not consumer-grade, they won’t use it. Many employees have adapted to new ways of living and working, and work environments have become more fluid. Reaching these employees is now even more challenging as we’re increasingly spread across geographies, time zones, and work environments. A single organization has many different types of employees they’re trying to communicate with, from a corporate office team member to a frontline worker. Therefore, a single platform is essential to help communicators manage the logistical complexities of personalizing and engaging their audiences. The most in-demand platforms are ones that offer extensibility through integrations, are scalable to meet all organizational needs, provide the right governance and access controls, and deliver advanced analytics.

When it comes to scaling a startup in a competitive tech market, what do you feel brands should do more of?

There’s a lot of good advice out there on this type of stuff. When it comes down to it, I’d offer this: invest in your people, and their understanding of the mission your company has. Through a rapidly changing internal and external environment, you need to create a culture where people can see a problem and own the solution. Scaling is only possible when everyone is moving in the same direction. That’s one of the most powerful things that has been highlighted in a new way to me throughout this recent re-brand process. The impact of aligning our people on the path-forward is already having an incredible impact on our customers.

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What are some of the top 5 B2B growth strategies/processes that you have always sworn by?

Here are a couple that are top-of-mind for me:

  • Know your customers. I cannot stress this enough. Anticipate their unknown needs, which comes down to deeply listening to them.
  • Be confident in your perspective. Don’t just chase competitors. It’s easy to focus on competitors in the short-term, but that doesn’t allow you to focus clearly on your long-term roadmap, or the needs of your customers.
  • Invest in architecture and security. It’s always fun to add flashy features, but if you don’t focus on the foundation, you won’t have the opportunity to create the ultimate vision.
  • Incubate and iterate. Find the customers that are willing to go out on a limb with you and co-create together. These can also be the most fulfilling projects.
  • Foster entrepreneurial talent and culture. I already mentioned people, but I have to emphasize this again. The people who are willing to take calculated risks and bet on the company will work with you to help fulfill the company’s mission and scale the business.

 A few thoughts on the future of the B2B tech segment before we wrap up?

One of the things I see is the line between HR leaders and Tech leaders is becoming more blurred. HR will lean into technology to help solve challenges like diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and technology leaders will play a critical role in designing and implementing tech-enabled solutions to address increasingly complex challenges. For DEI as an example, this could include natural language processing and machine learning to help reduce bias. There are so many opportunities for technology to play a powerful role in solving for the future of work, but it will take immense collaboration across teams that may not have worked as closely in the past. It will be a huge shift but will result in radical transformation.

Poppulo is a global leader in employee communications technology

David Levin is the Chief Executive Officer at Poppulo

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