Thursday, July 18, 2024

Inside the Mind Of… Justin Hartzman

Justin Hartzman is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of needls.

In 2005, Hartzman and his co-founders created We Sell Your Site. Having identified the gap in the middle market, boutique M&A space, WSYS became the de facto agency to sell, acquire, or sell funding for web businesses in the $1million to $50 million price point. Hartzman has brokered transactions to Fortune 100 companies, PE firms, family offices and online entrepreneurs –closing and negotiating a plethora of businesses in excess of $200 million in revenues.

In the same year as founding WSYS, Hartzman also founded a second successful internet-based company, All You Can Eat Internet. Having built a team to manage the day-to-day aspects, AYCE has now designed, created marketing strategy and initiatives, implemented monetization, and facilitated exit strategies for a myriad of internet businesses, in the App, SaaS, business services, content, and commerce landscape.

Hartzman’s newest venture is an ad tech startup. Having relinquished his role in WSYS and AYCE, leaving day-to-day management to his teams, in 2014, Justin Hartzman co-founded, a social media advertising platform for small to mid-sized businesses.

Through Data Science and AI, Justin and co-founders created the first RoboAgency to help MicroAdvertisers by automating the entire process from creation of ads, to targeting and optimization.

Stand out results stem from the Intent To Purchase technology needls has created, finding the right customer at the right time from recognizing buying signals through social media posts.

With the use of this technology, SMBs are able to create effective and successful social media campaigns.

Since its launch in mid-2016, needls has grown from zero users on the platform to having managed over $3 million in ads on social media for its MicroAdvertisers.


DG: What was the inspiration behind needls?

Justin:  We were having a meeting in 2013 about how to grow our business for the next year, and I got a call from my wife-to-be and she said, ‘You see that your friend Jeff needs an iPhone app built? He wrote it on Facebook.’ And I said, ‘No, sorry. I’m not on Facebook all day long – as much as you think that’s what I do – but no, I didn’t.’

She said, ‘Okay, I’ll tag you in it.’

It turned into a $50,000 a year contract.

It was kind of like a lightbulb went off right there and then of people asking for things on social media.

How do we get to them in their time of need? In January, we had one of our developers write a simple script to watch our Facebook wall and newsfeed, and it helped us grow by three-hundred per cent in the first quarter. We knew we were onto something, and we had to take the bull by the horns and move onto figuring out how to make it a full, viable product for market.

DG: Why is it called needls?

Justin: Needls, simply, just comes from the root of the word ‘needs’. We’re looking for people’s needs – and the needle in the social media haystack.

DG: How would you best describe the company and what it does?

Justin: We are the internet’s first Robo-Agency. So, answering a few simple questions, understanding what our users are looking to sell, and what they are looking to advertise for, we are able to create fifty to five-hundred ads for them in real time, target their perfect audience, and then constantly optimize their ads for them.

We put more dollars in their pocket by growing their business.

DG: What is it that you specifically do in your job?

Justin: I like to say that I’m a janitor. I’m there to pick up all the pieces and sweep up all the messes. I’m in a lucky position. I have a great team that works with me on the co-founder level, on every level in the company. I get to do what I love to do.

I love going out and meeting great people to find strategic partnerships with. Then, on the other side, I get to have this strategic, thousand-foot view of where I see the company going, and how we implement it in working with our team to ensure we keep finding those pieces, and that we move forward with them.

DG: How is needls is going to help a business?

Justin: As soon as you come to, and land on, our website, our user success team is going to let you jump right into the process and walk you through it. What we’ve done in six steps is simplify the heck out of it.

So, you ask the questions and we can help if you need. Once we’ve created those ads, you see how simple it is.

DG: What advice would you give to entrepreneurs?

Justin: You know, there are going to be hard days, people telling you that you can’t do it. Keep persevering. The fact is, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. The more that you can give back, be part of the community, the more that will come to you in return. Just keep grinding away and never give up.



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Dave Gordon
Dave Gordon
Dave Gordon is a Toronto-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in more than a hundred publications globally, over the course of twenty years. More about him can be found at