June 18th, 2013   /   Posted by Natalie Nathanson   /   Category: All, Startup Spotlight Interviews

Startup Spotlight: An Interview with Attentive.ly

Innovating Email and Social Media Engagement

Today’s startup spotlight is with co-founder of Attentive.ly, Rosalyn Lemieux.  Attentive.ly is software that uses data analytics to help companies engage prospects in a more targeted fashion through email and social media.

Tell me a bit about your professional background as it relates to Attentive.ly

I spent the last 15 years in digital engagement in the non-profit and issue advocacy space.  Prior to co-founding Attentive.ly, I co-founded a company called Fission Strategy, a digital services agency that offers online strategy, web development and soup to nuts campaigns.

Tell me a bit behind the inspiration for the idea behind Attentive.ly

The idea came out of the work we were doing at Fission Strategy.  There was a big revolution that started in 2003 in the progressive political space around the engagement of large numbers of people in online campaigns. It was a revolution in how people were organizing.  A big part of that was using email in a new way – building up big email lists and segmenting them in a way where people felt like they were being engaged personally. Now, as people move more toward social media for their day to day communication, email response rates are drifting downward.  We thought: there has to be a way to find and engage those same supporters on social media.

How would you describe the value that your product brings to the market?

Our mission is to help organizations dramatically improve ROI across email and social media by identifying the influencers on their email list and turning them into brand evangelists.

How do you define marketing as it relates to your startup?

My co-founder and I have close to 15 years of experience in the political tech space, so we have links to many organizations.  When we launched we let people know via social media, events, and strategic partnerships.  The last few months, we have been focused more on enterprise sales.

What has been your biggest challenge with Attentive.ly?

We bootstrapped Attentive.ly under Fission Strategy. Everyone told us it would be difficult to launch a software company out of a client services focused company, and that turned out to be true. We got Attentive.ly to a point where we had paying customers – then we decided to split off and form a new company.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone interested in founding a startup?

Whatever your first concept is will not be your last, so don’t get too married to your original idea. Just get your product out on the market, and see how people respond to it. Listen to your customers, and you’ll start to gain traction.  As you gain momentum, more people will be interested in supporting you either through investments or by becoming a customer.


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