HypeHash is the world’s first hashtag and social trend-centric product monetizing platform for the hottest trending topics on social media.
Product / Service Offering: Hashtag/Social Trend-Centric Product
Co-founder Interviewed: Ravihans Wetakepotha
This article is part of our Business Startup Spotlight series featuring entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope that these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.
Being the first ever Sri Lankan startup to get selected to work with Y Combinator was just surreal. What motivates me more is the sheer power of Silicon Valley and the entire ecosystem. The fact that we can change our lives and the lives of thousands of others is powerful. This ecosystem consists of founders like us, who are connected by the belief of doing something remarkable and useful to the world. This notion motivates me more than anything.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
I was in New York in late 2015 on a management consulting assignment. I suddenly realized a growing behavior change among social media savvy consumers. Consumers look for what is trending on social media, and seek fun memorabilia inspired by those trends. From sports to movies to social memes, there are thousands of trends originating around us every day. Why can’t we create a technology to show what exactly is trending, and then create a mechanism for people to easily target buyers and sellers of the same? That thought drove me to create HypeHash.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
- HypeHash is the world’s first hashtag and social trend-centric product monetizing PLATFORM for the hottest trending topics on social media.
- The need to be part of the current, relevant topics of the world.
- Finding the most relevant merchandise or designing the most relevant merchandise in seconds for a hot topic using our proprietary hashtag based technology.
- For the first time, you can see key performance indicators for trending topics and hashtags! Consumers and sellers see what is hot and what is not. This eliminates ambiguity, and creates an interesting viral loop where new products feed the same viral frenzy about the topic.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
Tough question. On the tech front, we are absolutely thrilled to introduce a new way of looking at social shopping. Our “insight engine” predicts what will trend in the next 24 hours and more. On a much more managerial level, what sets HypeHash apart would be our sheer ability to innovate and iterate at a rapid rate.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
We are originally from Sri Lanka, and there is no payment mechanism such as Paypal or Stripe. With virtually no angel investors, we had to look outward as we knew this was too good to become a local play. The initial period was the toughest.
Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
Angelhack and their HACKcelerator! Simply, this pre-accelerator made us! We owe a lot to them, they saw the potential in HypeHash and showed us the ropes in Silicon Valley. Also books, such as “Lean Running” and “Hooked,” helped us to understand ourselves better.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
We have actively tried to pursue an accelerator based strategy. We will be closing our seed round soon led by Right Side Capital and Business Network of Southeast Asia.
Have there been any questions you have had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?
Each startup faces a different set of problems as the context changes. I particularly have trouble finding answers to things like deal flow and terms sheets.
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
At first I thought being an immigrant founder would become a challenge in the midst of what so many would call “a changing America”. HypeHash firmly believes in the American Dream. America is greater than all shifts, we are amazed by the diversity. HypeHash is currently going through the company registration process as an LLC in the United States as a Delaware corporation. Some of the legal stuff is hard to understand, but we love every minute of it. Best foot forward!
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
From my mentor, Ville Oehman, “Ready. Aim. Fire. There is no better way to do it than really going out there and doing it. Then change it if you have to.” Luckily we didn’t!
Is there anything else you would like to share about your company?
HypeHash is growing at a rapid pace, and we are the fastest growing startup in Sri Lanka at the moment. HypeHash is the only Sri Lankan startup to win office hours with the illusive Y combinator.
We are in the business of changing the face of the social shopping. What makes us special is that we are the only technology company who is engaged in the area of understanding consumer behavior via social trends to monetize hashtags and other trend related topics. We are raising $700K with some noted investors such as Right Side Capital Management, Business Angel Network of Southeast Asia, and World’s Bank IFC. So if you want to invest in a product built for the next wave of consumers living in the Snapchat era, reach out to us!
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