The amount of time we spend on social media ‘following’ certain influencers is substantial and in most cases it is just a one-way relationship. They get to post at you and you get to sit and watch their very impersonal messages. TipTalk is turning this unhealthy relationship into a leveled playing field. The messaging platform that allows you to pay a minimum price to chat with your favorite influencers, is giving you easy access to your favorite people. So stop seeing influencers as deified celebrities and start chatting with them!
Today we sit down with CEO/CTO and cofounder Zachary Melamed to learn more about the benefits of chatting with influencers and the company’s future plans in the influencer marketing area.
Tell us about the product or service.
TipTalk is a messaging platform that gives users one-on-one access to their favorite experts, athletes, influencers and stars across various verticals including eSports, sports, business, finance and health and wellness. Users can purchase $1 credits to request a text, photo or video response from their favorite influencers. If they do not receive a response within 48 hours their credits are returned. Influencers have a chance to donate a portion or all of the proceeds to a charity of their choice.
How is it different?
Our platform offers a safe and direct channel to experts and stars that are 100% human verified and authenticated.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
It’s hard to give an exact market size as we test many verticals, but we find that the most engaged market is active social media users between 18 and 35.
What is the business model?
Users purchase credits to chat with TipTalk experts and stars on the platform. A portion of the proceeds go to TipTalk, but the majority goes directly to the experts, stars or charity.
From your data, what category of celebrity is most popular presently?
We have an outstanding roster of experts and stars across a number of categories, with the eSports streamers and YouTube/Vine/Instagram stars being in hot demand.
Tell us a little about your background and what inspired the business?
One of our co-founders, Owen De Vries, was trying to get a hold of an influencer and made a comment at dinner, “I wish I could just pay this person to respond.” That was the “ah-ha” moment that lead to further discussions with a network of influencers, who confirmed that they would respond to far more fan messages if there was incentive and a better medium to do so.
Tell us what building your company in LA has been like?
Our business is built on relationships with experts and stars who are, for the most part, within one degree of separation from LA. Being part of this dense population of talent is incredibly valuable for us.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Over the next six months we plan on launching our web and Android applications to accompany our iOS app. Additionally we’re looking to at least double our influencer roster and team to accelerate the development of tools for fans to engage with experts and influencers on the platform.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the community who would it be and why?
We’re looking for strategic investors who have direct relationships to influencers seeking innovative ways to connect to their fans and followers. Troy Carter and Scooter Braun would be great partners to have onboard.
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
Our business exists to create rich relationships between our users and the influencers who depend on the industries that are core to LA. We hope that as much as LA can help us thrive, we can give back to LA and the community that inspired our existence.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
Attracting more internationally recognized and respected conferences and events, and opening up more creative funding opportunities that are attractive to early stage companies would be largely beneficial to Los Angeles.
Do you think LA will land the Olympics in 2024?
I think being considered as a finalist is certainly an honor, especially considering the other finalist cities. Hopefully they can figure out better solutions for managing traffic by then!