Alumni Spotlight: Mata Kranakis

Mata Kranakis

Mata Kranakis (MPC 2013) is a User Growth Coordinator at Figure 1, a Toronto startup that has developed a medical photo-sharing app for doctors. Mata obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Humanistics, with minors in Communications and Russian Studies, from McGill University before attending the MPC program.

By Jelena Djurkic, MPC 2013

Mata joined Figure 1 during the startup’s early days, working alongside founder and ProCom professor Dr. Gregory Levey as part of her MPC internship. She stayed on as a Communications Associate after graduating, before moving into her current role in which she is responsible for implementing and scaling growth strategies, managing user acquisition across digital channels, and overseeing the company’s Medical Ambassador Program.

Mata is part of a growing group of communicators moving into the startup world, where marketing new technology relies on developing marketing strategies that are willing to engage users in unconventional ways.

In my role, I’m constantly running experiments to see what growth tactics work, and what doesn’t. I fail often, but I just pick up again and try something new

The startup’s app, used by more than 150,000 users around the world, enables medical professionals and students to connect, discuss and share anonymized medical cases.

With Mata’s help, Figure 1 has seen rapid growth since its start at Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone. The startup’s ambassador program, which is made up of medical students who represent Figure 1, has grown to over 900 ambassadors in over 80% of U.S. medical schools as well as internationally. The students get early access to the app to test new beta features.

While anyone can download the app, only those who are registered as healthcare professionals can comment and post images. Student ambassadors benefit by using the app as a learning tool to explore hard-to-identify illnesses.

Medical student ambassadors love being a part of the program because they can be involved with something beyond what they learn in school

The program allows the startup to work out product kinks while engaging potential future users of the app. The medical students act as brand ambassadors who build awareness in the medical community.

We’re lucky enough that our users believe in our product. A lot of what I’ve done has been finding ways to harness their desire to help. We love to send them t-shirts, notebooks, handwritten cards and other small tokens to thank them for their effort. I think creating a personal connection with the ambassadors has really helped

The startup also highlights student ambassadors every month on the company blog.

Working on a startup team has been rewarding as it has allowed Mata to work on various communications projects and learn about all aspects of the company.

“My role at Figure 1 can change as my interests change. One year ago I was doing traditional communications (writing press releases, pitching stories) but when I expressed interest in the digital side of communications, I was able to try it out.”

Mata’s next big project? Learn how to code.


Selfie stick or no selfie stick? 

No selfie stick. They scare me a little bit.

Favourite Twitter account you follow? 

I hardly use Twitter! I occasionally check it to see live reports when something crazy is going on in Toronto, or when I want to see how widespread a power outage is.

East or West Toronto? 

Definitely West Toronto! 

Best subreddit? 

It’s a toss up between r/food and r/tea. I love food and I’m a tea fanatic. I also enjoy seeing what people around the world are eating and drinking!

iPhone or Android?