Interview with Swish Goswami
We have developed a web platform that helps influencers, agencies and brands identify and reward their top fans. We aggregate data from Twitter using our proprietary technology and show users their passionate, influential and casual fans that can be filtered by location, gender, interests and keywords. Brands can also use the tool to mobilize marketing campaigns like local events, influencer content, prize giveaways, and targeted advertising. Trufan
is a SaaS product for brands and offers a premium version to influencers who want to gain additional privileges like having their top fans compiled and exported to them in a CSV file.
Hi Swish! Could you please introduce Trufan and what initially inspired you to found the company last year?
All right. Let's talk about Trufan. Trufan is a web platform that helps influencers and brands identify and reward their top fans were able to go through your social media Twitter Facebook Instagram and YouTube and we're able to show you your influential and engaged followed and give you a direct way to reach out to them,
I was personally inspired to come up with the idea in December 2017. So but a year ago, after I was building a big following of myself for basketball on a page called Dunk. So we had the account at do you and can Instagram at about two point two million followers, a lot of players team members and a lot of agents were following us. And we also had some really really awesome brands that we were working with like Warner Music and CU for sports and things were going really well except for the only problem is we didn't know who are influential or engaged followers of war. It's why we primarily build Trufan mainly for ourselves and after pitching it around to a lot of brands and a lot of influencers we realize that there's a bigger problem out there which is most brands out there have customer loyalty programs but those programs are not based on social media data, they're only based on financial numbers.
So who are the customers that are spending the most money on us not the customers that are doing the best brand advocacy work for us on social media. That's the problem we're here to fix and really really excited about the progress we've made thus far.
You founded the company a year ago. What have been the biggest benchmarks and milestones you've reached with the company, and how is today's iteration of Trufan unique from what you'd initially imagined it would look like?
So there are three big benchmarks that we've hit. I think no one was definitely when we formed our team in February we're a team of five people our CMO is in England. Tim will hire. We have a Head of Sales who's from Ottawa, he just recently moved about a month ago to be in Vancouver full-time Scott Berti. My co-founders Ana Claire who's at Stanford University for two years and now is in Vancouver living with me and working with me here in Vancouver. I'm on the team and we have a CFO named Trevor Eastment in Utah.
The first milestone I think which is putting together that core group of people that I'm so proud about because we're not only talented people but I think we really work well together and despite being a remote team that is not in one place all the time, we somehow still make three-team calls to work during the week. We have a great time chatting with each other a protected phone calls and we're able to pretty much push our product into three different markets. Canada the United States and England all at once because of that.
The second milestone was raising money about three weeks ago, we announced that we raised five hundred thousand from two NBA players which was awesome for me and a huge basketball fan. A couple of media executives like Jason Robins who runs Draft Kings and a few Canadian venture capitalists like Michelle Romanoff who's a dragon on Dragons Den which is the Canadian version of Shark Tank was the second milestone the third and final Moss Stone was releasing are beta two weeks ago and it's been a long time coming we've been developing that product for about six months. But to be able to get that product now in the hands of customers and get their feedback on it is incredible. Today's iteration of Truefan is very different though initially, we thought it was just a tool to be able to analyze your following like analyze who influential and passionate fans were. But now we see Trufan as an alternative to paid advertising and influencer marketing something that brands can do instead of that they can come to a Trufan and run all their marketing campaigns on our platform itself.
What has been the response from the influencer marketing community using Trufan? What are some of the most innovative and unique ways you've seen Trufan used?
The response has been great so far. This is an excellent question. We've had over 700 people sign up for early access on our website. Thus far we've had over 400 influencers sign up separately, those are people out of the 400 they represent about 550 million followers. People like Kevin Hart, Casey Neistat, TLC, T boss, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, Kyle Kuzma bunch of basketball players. So it's just been awesome to see some the creative things they've done with it.
I'll take you through two examples. Number one was Kyle Kuzma. He has his own merchandise called Kuzmania, he gave away his hats and t-shirts on our platform to his top fans given 20 percent off and all of them were shocked about getting a direct message in their inbox from a basketball player.
They all screenshoted, we saw many people even shared on Twitter and that content went viral because like a basketball player. Dm you in your inbox about something that can actually help you in terms of getting a discount code. So it was really cool to see that.
The second example with being able to see Kevin Hart give away his concert tickets to his fans but telling them that all right you guys are in Seattle, we have tickets for you, we're not going to give it to you yet, we're going to actually put down the address of where you can get the tickets and he DM that address to a bunch of his top fans who were able to go out, get the tickets and go to the show.
So the last creative way that I think I saw with the score it's a brand it's on influencer. I know I'm cheating the question a bit but the score was able to get competitor data about Bleacher Report which is a competitor of theirs and then we're able to retarget ads against Bleacher Report top fans, we built them a custom audience of Bleacher Reports you know top engaged and influential fans, they were able to put that document back into Twitter back into Instagram and back into Facebook and retarget ads against those people followed.
How has your work with TedX and the UN shifted or changed since you started working on Trufan? How has your work with the company influenced your speaking engagements?
Another great question. I was a U.N. youth ambassador for about three years. I'm not anymore. I didn't create a research report with a former British diplomat named Thomas Fletcher. I was invited to the U.N. Youth Assembly in my first year to speak. I was then re-invited to my second year. Got really close with the U.N. Association of Canada and started to do some advocacy work for them.
But definitely, working now on Trufan has made me incapable, I think of being able to manage that much work.
I do still speak though, I didn't ever do any work with TedX. I've given three Ted x talks one on social entrepreneurship the second on personal branding and the final on mental health. But most of my speaking now are all around two things One marketing, so I love talking about Trufan and because I think we represent the future of marketing where brands and influencers have a one to one relationship with their top customers or their top fans. I love talking about that and marketing event and then I love going to college campuses and talking about mental health because Trufan and being an entrepreneur isn't as glamorous as it looks like there are a lot of lonely nights you know, it's eleven twenty onep.m. I am the only one right now in our office and that's just the truth of it.
They're going to be late nights there are gonna be nights where your friends are partying going clubbing and you have to stay home and work and I think talking to college students not only about entrepreneurship but about mental health and being able to not let go of it and being able to make that a priority in your life is really important.
What's next for your work with Trufan? When do you plan on launching the Trufan media platform for the Indian market?
What's next for my work a Trufan. Trufan rolling out a major update on December 15th theres gonna be four key features that are gonna be added on number one sentiment analysis of being able to determine based on your top fans who's had a negative or positive interaction with you so you can start a conversation with them very easily.
The second is going to be filters of being able to filter your entire following, by location, by the type of interaction they had with you positive or negative and also be able to filter them by their following size. The third thing is you'd be trending fans of people that are recently just started following you and you want to sustain that growth, and the final update that we're gonna be putting out is for YouTube. YouTube's around the world are gonna be able to log in a Trufan, linked their YouTube account and find out who their top fans are off YouTube.
In terms of a media platform. It isn't. It's not really a Trufan media platform. It's actually called Swish the t-shirt that I'm wearing right now. We call the media platform that it's a separate entity altogether but that media platform is actually done. We're gonna be raising money for it in December and January and we're looking to launch it publicly in February. So I'm really excited about that. It will aggregate the best and viral content off the Internet primarily off major social media accounts and it'll be able to display that in English and in Hindi because we are trying to target the Indian market and yet that's that's the major update. I think 20 19 will be an exciting year for sure with Trufan with Swish with some speaking that I'm doing as well as a book that I'm going to be releasing in May 2019. So a very very busy year but a year that I'm very much looking forward to.