|1. What is the elevator pitch for the company? |
|Instagram for data: explore, create and share insights backed by trusted data to your conversations.|
|2. Tell us more about the product / service. What problem are you solving? |
|Fake info spreads in minutes on social media. But two thirds of media organisation takes a day or longer to create & publish a single data-backed story. While facts can be found in trusted data sources, it's a painstaking and lengthy process to turn data into digestible facts and stories for social media. The process, that includes data search, extraction, analysis, visualization and publication, can require several tools, skill sets and people. This pain is shared multiple storytellers: journalists, media publishers, as well as any organization with a desire to spread data and insights - like NGOs and ad agencies. It can take months and millions of dollars to launch a data journalism or in-house data content team. Data storytelling simply lacks the immediacy, cost-effectiveness, efficiency and mobile focus of nearly all other forms of content right now.|
|3. What inspired you to start the company? |
|Farhan worked as a data journalist in the field for Al Jazeera during the Arab Spring. Six years ago, social media mobilized information into revolutions. Now, less than 5% of US adults trust content on social media (Pew Research). It's an ecosystem where fake facts spreads faster than real ones, and yet still, over 70% of adults use social media to find news (Pew Research). We believe people need more trustable content, rooted in data, that they can explore for themselves, to have more informed conversations. Grafiti was created as a mobile-first tool to let anyone express themselves with data. |
|4. What market are you targeting & how big is it? Who are the typical customers who would use your product? |
|The data tools market is worth $8 billion, for applications that target business users with prior knowledge of data and charting. Initially, we're focusing on serving three verticals that share the same content creation needs, while strategically offering us access to large audiences, data, and content, all with monetization. Journalists, communications teams, and content marketers are all struggling to create data content for social media.|
|5. How are you different from other companies in this space? What do you think is your competitive advantage? |
|While there's no shortage of data visualization and analytics tools, there aren't any data tools built for communication, from the ground up. Our goal, and ultimate advantage, is to create a community of data-driven conversations around everyday topics, that everyone can participate in. To power that, we're using our engine to power a consumer tool as well as a publisher one.
Our mobile and web apps let users create data-backed content up to 20 times faster (in our beta tests). Grafiti empowers anyone to access and explore trusted datasets; create interactive data content; and publish multiple formats meant for social and mobile audiences. Grafiti is to Tableau what Instagram is to Photoshop - a storytelling tool with a UI and skill-level designed for everyday people, not just professionals.
Our second value proposition to publishers, in addition to faster production, is data content that delivers higher engagement. In March 2017, we ran a pilot project with AJ+ to test user behavior around data content created specifically for social media. We created a 24-hour Facebook Live event, centered around gun data. The test generated 5x the engagement for shares and comments that AJ+ typically receives per video on social media. We also created a similar experience for UNICEF Africa (paid pilot) in October 2017, and are currently working on interactive content pilots for large audiences with numerous organizations.
|6. What is the business model? How do you plan to generate revenues? |
|Media, NGOs and Agencies are all asking us for a SAAS tool they can pay for per seat and scale across their organizations today. Grafiti is currently testing SAAS prices with alpha pilots and building out the premium webapp with our first customers. The premium offering enables branding, enterprise workflow integrations and expanded content formats that meet enterprise needs. In 2018 we plan to launch our webapp with partners like the Associated Press, and focus on scaling our customer base.|
|7. Tell us more about the founding team and their background. |
|Farhan was a former economist and data journalist for Al Jazeera English, where he also served as a product manager for encrypted communication tools. Akbar managed data research teams as an investment banker at BOFA and traded derivatives off of valuation models he created for Credit Suisse. Juan Castrence is our chief UX designer and leads user testing. Iain Bryson is the primary iOS and web development lead, and spent 15 years at Microsoft building data analytics products. Kyle Suess holds a Master's in Marketing Analytics from UMD, worked at IBM, and serves a product manager and data scientist. Stefan Cardenas holds a Masters in Engineering from Columbia and builds back-end architecture.|
|8. Where is the company located? Are you bootstrapped or funded? If funded, who are some of your investors? |
|Grafiti, Inc. is a Matter portfolio company in NYC that recently raised a family and friends preseed round. We just launched our public beta in the app store and are focused on creating a community of users as well as continuing our customer pilots ahead of seeking institutional seed funding in 2018.|
|9. What are the next steps for the company in the next 12-18 months? And who would you like to connect with? |
|We've launched our iOS app. Over the next 18 months, we're refining it; testing & releasing our free & paid web apps; expanding data and platform integrations; and working through user and customer pilots.
We want to connect with influencers who have a passion for facts; partners looking to unlock their data; and content creators looking for new ways to connect with their social audiences. In advance of our fundraising next year we are also interested in meeting investors who share our vision for building a community of data-driven conversations.