In an exclusive interview with The Fly, Thumzup (TZUP) CEO Robert Steele talked about the company, its flagship product, expansion plans, the Reg A+ offering, COVID-related impact and much more.
‘DEMOCRATIZING’ SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING: Thumzup’s flagship product, the Thumzup platform, utilizes a programmatic advertiser dashboard coupled with a consumer-facing App to enable individuals to get paid cash for posting about participating advertisers on major social media outlets through the Thumzup App.
“The same way Uber [UBER] created tens of billions of dollars in value by democratizing riding share, Thumzup is in the process of democratizing social media marketing, which we believe will also create tens of billions of dollars in value. Thumzup is the only platform that we know of that makes it really easy for any brand or business to pay people cash to post about that brand or business on their social media,” CEO Robert Steele explained to The Fly.
FIRST MOVER ADVANTAGE: While there are other peers in the social media marketing space, Steele believes none are direct Thumzup competitors. The main difference relates to scale as the Thumzup platform is not aimed at connecting professional influencers with advertisers but anybody with a social media account, independently of their number of followers. “We believe we have the first mover advantage in democratizing social media marketing and advertising. We don’t know of any other platform that makes it this easy for a brand or business to pay people cash to post about that brand or business on social media. The closest thing to competition for us is companies like Izea [IZEA] and Grin and #paid that have marketplaces for professional influencers to meet brands and be paid to post. While it might look similar, those companies don’t have a vision to have hundreds of millions or even a billion of users on their platform. We believe that everybody’s voice has value. And data shows that someone with 100 or 200 followers, who don’t see themselves as a professional influencer has a much higher response rate and higher trust. Without Thumzup there’s no way for the average advertiser to reach a thousand of those people and activate them in one campaign and that’s what we do,” Steele added.
REG A+ OFFERING: Thumzup is currently raising capital in a Reg A+ offering which has been qualified by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Calling it a “very important” for the company, Steele explained that it fit its “vision to democratize -- which means we want everybody to be able to benefit from their involvement with Thumzup.” “Due to the Jobs Act, it now allows for an early-stage company like ours to reach out to anybody. Anyone can buy stock in our company. They just need to go to our website and buy stock in our Reg A+ offering. If someone had invested in Uber at the stage we are now, they would be up 2000 x; an incredible opportunity. At that time, though, that opportunity was only open to a select group of people,” the executive added.
CATALYST FOR THUMZUP: Discussing the pandemic, its impact and now the current reopening, Thumzup CEO Robert Steele told The Fly that, COVID wasn’t a pleasant experience. But now in 2023, we think the recovery period is actually creating a catalyst for our company. There’s a need for advertising. Right now, we’re focused on small businesses, and they have a need for advertising. Our platform shows real people are out and about shopping, eating, drinking, having fun. We think we’re experiencing some unusual adoption because of where we are in the COVID recovery timeline.”
NOT INFLUENCER MARKETING: “The challenge that we have when trying to introduce our company to investors is that people quickly want to think that we’re influencer marketing. But we’re not,” CEO Robert Steele told The Fly. “Influencer marketing is a $5B a year business. We believe we’re the future of digital advertising, which is way more compelling. Nielsen says that 92% of the people trust recommendations from friends and family above advertising. So, digital advertising is a $200B-plus business and Nielsen says that 92% people trust recommendations more than that $200B business. So, that’s what Thumzup is.”
"Meet the Company" is The Fly's recurring series of exclusive short interviews with Executive Officers to offer a deeper look inside the company.