Featured Startup Pitch: prollie ditches the social media ratings paradigm of popularity for a qualitative approach

Prollie logoCompany: prollie

Website: www.prollie.com

Founders: Mike Fabbri and Red Fabbri

Headquarters: New York City

Year Founded: 2011

Investors: Frank V. Sica, Allen Cutler

Twitter: @prolliedotcom

Facebook: facebook.com/prolliedotcom

Blog: blog.prollie.com

Company Description: A social search and analytics platform that measures your quality on social media. Get graded, discover your passions, find people who want and deserve to be found!

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Mike and Red Fabbri, prollieBy Mike and Red Fabbri, co-founders

Product Overview

prollie is a social search and analytics platform that measures your quality on social media. Get graded, discover your passions, and find people who want and deserve to be found on your favorite networks!

Social analytics is dominated by the concept of ‘influence.’ To us, it’s not about having 100,000 followers, it’s about the quality of your output and the passion you put into it. We are an analytics platform that grades users based on skill and ability on social media (Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn currently) and showcases your passions—those topics you seem to really love, connect with and talk about on social media.

Take someone like Justin Bieber, who may have a high Klout score for his volume on social media, would not necessarily be graded high on prollie because when it comes down to it, he may not be that great a source for music content on Twitter (as he generally just tweets pictures of himself).

The search grade we use is not just about the grade itself, it’s about what prollie does with it: Search. If you want to find someone to follow on Twitter who has great content to share about the new fall TV lineup, you can come to prollie and find him or her. Gluten free? Search for someone on Tumblr who posts the best g-free recipes.

prollie is search for qualified people on social media. So while we respect influential people offline, that’s not the purpose of our search platform. If they don’t tweet, you prollie wouldn’t find much use for them on Twitter, so they won’t be evaluated on prollie.

With our index of users, we’ve created a robust, custom and network-agnostic ‘suggested user’ engine for you to find people to follow/friend on your favorite social media sites. It’s trusted, opt-in social search for qualified people who want and deserve to be found.

prollie was founded in 2011 and launched its invite-only alpha in October of 2012. The public beta will be launching at the end of February.

Founders’ Story

We are Mike and Red Fabbri, brothers and co-founders of prollie. While at times we have wildly different tastes and styles, we grew up working as a team with similar goals; whether it was using our imaginations in the driveway of our childhood home, or conceptualizing and building a tech startup, we’re a formidable team of 26-plus years. While at Boston College, we were some of the first users of Facebook, and continued that early adoption fervor into our professional lives. Red was a producer that headed up social media for NBCUniversal, and Mike worked in advertising focused on social strategy for luxury brands. Together at prollie, we combine a love for social networking with an eye for unique product development and a belief in the power of passionate users and voices. prollie is a way to help those amazing users find a voice and an audience based around their ability and passion.

Opportunity 

Social media is booming, with billions of active users monthly on Facebook alone. As more and more users flock to the networks, the question becomes “how do I find people to follow?” This is prollie’s opportunity to change the game—by qualifying users based around their passions and skill on the networks, everyone has the opportunity to be known for and found by their ability and expertise. Competitors like Klout and Kred measure influence, which is reserved for only the top few on social media (sheer volume does not constitute influence), and does not allow the ‘regular Joe’ with a great presence, albeit a smaller amount of followers, to be found .

Differentiation

Social Analytics is right now split into two categories: the heavy-duty social monitoring tools for brands and companies (Radian6, Crimson Hexagon) and the consumer-facing ‘influence’ measurers (Klout, Kred, PeerIndex). prollie is here to be the alternative to both, being a consumer-facing tool measuring skill and ability, and to answer the problem presenting itself as more-and-more users flock to social media: how do I find people to follow?

First, we are a social analytics platform for the users. We measure skill and ability on the popular social networks (right now: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, LinkedIn), and through this analysis determine a user’s passions: those topics they talk about and connect with the most. We adhere to each network’s API guidelines, and after a user chooses to connect their accounts with prollie, comb through the data for certain proprietary points and unique trends using our algorithm. We then provide easy to understand and share letter grades to showcase a user’s ability on each network and social media overall. Finally, we index our users into an easily searchable database to help them gain an audience and followers and be known for their passions and ability on their favorite social networks.

We are 100 percent opt-in as well, so our user base is qualified and wants to be discovered. We make this possible through an easy-to-use search interface that is focused around these passions, with search modifiers based on network, minimum grade, and location. For instance, if you were looking for someone who is passionate about travel to follow on Tumblr, with a minimum grade of B+ and in the New York City area, prollie would output only users who fit those criteria. This comes with an antidote to the ‘friend of a friend’ user suggestion engines that are built-in to the social networks.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

All marketing and promotion will be 100 percent organic to the brand and to social media, there will be no traditional advertising. We focus most of our efforts on PR and personal outreach, utilizing the networks we aggregate from to promote our brand. We expect the share-ability aspect of prollie to be a huge growth builder. We will have presence at social media events like SXSW interactive to also promote the brand in person.

Business Model

•  Search Advertising: our user discovery platform is based around ‘passions,’ which are topics that our userbase talks about and connects with the most online. Brands will pay for sponsorship of certain keywords/phrases and their subsequent sponsored search results pages on our user discovery tool.

•  CRM: brands will be offered the opportunity to pay a premium to engage with their top users on prollie, through our site and in our voice. Whether it’s promotional material or exclusive offers, all messaging will be organic and on-brand.

Current Needs

We completed an Angel round of funding and raised $478,500. That has gotten us through the past year-and-a-half of development and will take us through March of 2013. We are looking to do another series of funding at an institutional level.

prollie – www.prollie.com

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