Featured Startup Pitch: Yerevan, Armenia-based Truthly.me wants to help you tell people what you really think about them
Elevator Pitch: Truthly.me is an anonymous social network where people can anonymously tell their friends, family members and relatives the things they would never say in person.
The idea is simple—all the people have some bad personality traits and weaknesses they don’t notice; and the issue is that no one tells them about it, even their best friends or family members. Sometimes a girl can’t tell her best friend that her yellow shoes don’t match her dress, a husband can’t tell his wife that she gained weight, or a son can’t say to his politician father that he becomes too funny after the use of alcohol. The reasons for not telling the truth are that they worry the person will misunderstand them, take it wrongly or they just feel uneasy. But there are things that people must know about themselves, and if we can’t say it openly, we can do it anonymously.
There are two types of people on Truthly.me—those who have something to say to their friends, and those who want to know what people around them really think about them. The first ones can send anonymous messages to the second ones, but before they have to prove that they know the person. There are some ‘checking questions’ for the senders that they have to answer. For example, it can be a mobile number, the Truth Number (more on that later), birthday, or any custom question—strangers can’t send messages to each other.
People don’t need to register on the website if they are just going to send a message to their friends. It makes the process quick-and-easy and solves the most important problem—people are afraid of being caught. In this case, they don’t have to leave their email or any other personal information, so it makes the process 100 percent anonymous.
[Registered] users can make their private messages public, can share them in Facebook, can discuss them, etc.
My friend Alexander Adamyan and I are the co-founders of Truthly.me. We are friends from university and have known each other for more than 12 years. Alex is the founder of two successful startups: Simply Print and Simply Technologies, and I am a founder of the popular personal development and business blog in Armenia, Success.am, and author of the book Change Your Life.
The project’s idea was born in order to give people the opportunity to find out their negative sides and just keep improving, to become better-and-better. When we met early in 2013, we realized that the fact is that people always have something to say to their friends and relatives, but they can’t do it face-to-face. We surveyed over 500 people, and almost all of them said that they have something they would like to tell their friends anonymously. We started to search for some simple solution, but we didn’t find it. So, we decided to do it ourselves. Work on the project was started in January, 2013, and the first beta version of Truthly.me was launched in August.
Truthly has a deep integration with Facebook. The users can share several types of information on Facebook (for example, the information that they have registered on Truthly, or their messages, or their Truth Number), they can see their Facebook friends on Truthly, they can sign in by Facebook, etc. Also, there are sharing possibilities for other social networks—Twitter, vKontakte, Google+, LinkedIn, and Tumblr.
We plan to get most of our new users from other social networks—especially from Facebook. For example, one of the ‘checking questions,’ which users have to answer to send a message, is the system-generated 12-digit number which we called the Truth Number. Users can share their Truth Number on their Facebook wall with their Truthly page URL and the following text: “Hi, my Truth Number is 555352. You can tell me something that you can’t say to my face.” All of the user’s Facebook friends will see this message on their News Feed. So, one share to Facebook can bring a lot of new users.
There is no market leader in this space. There are several other anonymous social networks, but they aren’t solving exactly the same problem. The market is very large, because the world’s major social networks don’t provide the possibility of anonymous communication, and еach user of Facebook is a potential user for Тruthly.
How We Differentiate From the Competition
People are afraid to send anonymous messages if there is a risk of being caught, and it’s very important to give people the opportunity to do it without being registered. Also, it is important not to allow a stranger to send you anonymous messages.
The second thing is that we’re focused on making Truthly an everyday tool for businesses, especially for management. As you know, in many companies employees also can’t tell their bosses, managers, or co-workers what they really want to say. Truthly can help managers become better managers and bossеs find out what is really going on in the company.
The main service for individuals is free. We are going to make money on premium accounts/features for businesses. Also, we have some ideas to offer paid, anonymous consultations with doctors and other specialists.
Аt the moment we are a company of three people headquartered in Yerevan, including two programmers and a designer. We are not looking for any large investment right now, because the final model of the project is not clear yet and we have a lot of work to do to understand what our users want. But one thing is clear—at some point we want to move to the USA and develop our project there. Also we will be happy to take on some accelerator program in the USA or Europe.
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Headquarters: Yerevan, Armenia
Year Founded: 2013