Any business, blogger, influencer or wannabe knows that not being able to include links in Instagram post copy/ only being able to have one lin at a time in the bio is something of a huge pain in the butt.
Which is why Melbournian brothers Alex and Anthony Zaccaria joined forces with their mate Nick Humphreys three years ago to create a solution.
That solution was multi-platform content tool, Linktree, which allows users to share more than one link at a time with their followers. It quickly became the fastest-growing tech startup in Australia with 2.8 million users globally and 180% user growth in the last 12 months.
This is obviously some pretty massive success for a side hustle. We spoke to Alex about how the guys got the idea in the first place, and how they turned a spark into a full-blown business.
We came up with the idea when… We got tired of changing the bio link in the Instagram accounts of our clients every day and figured there had to be an easier way. We built Linktree to solve a problem we thought was unique to us, but it turns out that millions of other people had the exact same problem.
When we were starting Linktree, I was still working as an… Agency Director at Bolster – the digital marketing agency I co-founded with my brother, Anthony and friend Nick. Linktree was a side-hustle we created to fix a problem we had come across when doing social work for our music industry clients. We never imagined it would grow so quickly!
I found the time for a side hustle by… Sleeping less and testing the never-ending patience of my girlfriend, Amelia. I don’t say it enough, but I’m enormously grateful for the people around me who’ve supported my crazy work hours and unreliable phone communication. They’ve given me the energy to build Linktree.
Some of our biggest challenges with Linktree were… Maintaining the platform through its crazy growth periods, at the same time as building and scaling a digital agency. We’ve had many sleepless nights but the whole ride has been pretty thrilling. We never imagined that a platform that initially took six hours to build, would become one of the fastest-growing tech platforms in the country with whole teams in working in customer support, marketing, development. Managing its growth has been a fast learning curve.
My biggest learning from founding Linktree was… How big the world really is and what scale actually means. When we started Linktree, we were growing our user base at a rate of around 5-10 new users per day – we pinched ourselves when it grew to 2,000 per day after being featured on Product Hunt.
Eventually, that number grew to more than 10,000 users signing up every single day and over 100 million visitors to the platform per month. It was then that we got true insight into the potential of the platform. While previously I could never have dreamed of achieving those kinds of numbers, we now have over 2.8 million users and are still growing.
I first knew Linktree was a winner when… Alicia Keys joined the platform. It happened within the first six months of launching Linktree, so it really took us by surprise – it was definitely one of our first big moments. Watching the user growth rocket after she joined us was awesome.
From there we’ve picked up some incredibly influential users totally organically, including people like Jamie Oliver, Naomi Campbell, Jonathon Van Ness, David Guetta and marketing guru Gary Vee. Big brands like Billabong, Qantas, Expedia quickly came on board, as well as publications like Pedestrian! Still today we hear daily cheers in the office as big new sign-ups come in.
The most life-changing decision I ever had to make was… to focus on real-life industry experience. After studying entrepreneurship at university for one semester I realised I was going to learn more about the craft by getting out there and doing it rather than studying it.
That, and not eating pasta every night like I was taught growing up. Both decisions were equally challenging for my parents, but they eventually came around.
I still need to work on… Making eleventh-hour decisions and meeting deadlines. I do some of my best thinking late at night and I’m known for my 3 am epiphanies. Given it’s been a team effort to get Linktree to where it is today, I’m working on bringing my decision making and ideas into more regular office hours.
My long-term goals are… To make it even easier for side-hustlers, creators and entrepreneurs to launch their passions into the world and increase their audiences. I’d also love to grow LA and London teams to match the smarts and energy of the incredible people we have here in our Melbourne HQ.
If I had to give a budding entrepreneur one tip, it would be [to] trust your gut. More often than not, your first reaction or instinct is the right one.
My theory for what makes a good business is… Developing a product that is focused on a need or niche. It’s much easier to grow a business or to find a market when there’s a genuine need.
With Linktree we focused on solving one very particular problem that we’d come across on Instagram. From there we’ve been able to grow the platform so that now it’s used broadly across the internet – on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Twitch, YouTube. In fact, 40% of Linktree use now comes from outside of Instagram.
I maintain a work/life balance by… I’ll get back to you when I work this one out! In the last few years I’ve thrown myself into work, which is easy to do when you love what you do and you can see tangible business growth as a result.
This year my goal has been to make sure all areas of my life stack up, but it’s an ongoing mission and is easier said than done. I am making a greater effort to make sure I’m exercising, switching off at weekends and being a better friend, brother and son!
The best bit of advice I received was…It’s all about the team. Hiring is one area where you can’t cut corners. As a result of following this advice I’m super proud of the team we’ve grown at Linktree. They’re curious, brave and vocal. I’m endlessly grateful that they’re as passionate about building a world-class product as I am.