Beta Byte: Hashup

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Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 4.07.06 PMBeta Byte is a series underwritten by Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq for that early stage tech found somewhere between idea and traction.

What is the name of the company and/or product? Where is it found online?

The company is called Hashup and you can find us at hashup.com.

What problem does this solve?

Websites have tons of great information but when you think about it, mobile browsers aren’t built to feed us relevant sites. It’s because the static web browsing model hasn’t changed since the Netscape era two decades ago.

Hashup makes your browser social, using the power of hashtags. Now, you can link a website to a relevant hashtag. When you search a hashtag, you’ll see all websites users tagged to it. Hashup also feeds live Instagram and Twitter content for that hashtag in the same place, and lets you connect with others who love the same hashtags you do!

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What is the full launch/release date planned?

We launch Winter 2014.

Who is on the team?

The founding team consists of Bryon Shannon (CEO), and three seasoned mobile developers: Dharmanshu Kamra, Anuj Birla and Dhruv Goel. We have advisors in San Francisco (VC background) and New York (Digital and experiential marketing strategy).

What is the specific technology or combination of technologies is used? 

The app is built to scale using Amazon Web Services (AWS). Language of choice is Python/Django with a PostGreSql database. Our primary focus is on speed of search result content, so we’ve optimized our approach for cache data from Twitter and Instagram.

What is the size/scope of your market and how will you scale?

Within the next three years, millennials will have more spending power than any other generation ($170B+). They love digital, and the US digital ad market has surpassed $40B annually. This year, digital advertising officially became a bigger market than TV advertising. Mobile is the fastest growing digital sector, growing at a rate of 143%. We’ll scale by optimizing how we communicate with our client partners as well as how we cater the content we suggest to our users based on the hashtags they follow.

What is your revenue model?

We are focused on building a superior browsing and content discovery experience for our users. Websites provide experiences that ads cannot (voting, donating, downloading music, etc). We’ll monetize by partnering with content creators who already use hashtags to unify their social conversations and now wish to share original web content with these users.

What is your greatest strength?

The prevalence of hashtags. For example, 57% of Super Bowl ads this year had hashtags. That’s more than the amount of ads that had actual URLs. On Hashup, all these hashtags become a lot more useful because they’ll link to sites that matter.

But it’s the team’s background that will make the business succeed. My first start-up was an ecommerce retail company that I led to a successful exit. I have since layered on marketing experience from TV One, Discovery Channel and Target Corp. The dev team has completed mobile apps for Mercedes Benz, Jackthreads, Uniqlo and tons of other clients, with work that’s been featured on Apple’s App Store. Together, we balance the tech and the design worlds together, and we are loving the outcome.

What is your biggest weakness?

Overcoming the assumption that “social” means you to follow people rather than things. Our “content first” model puts the hashtag as our hero, where you may ultimately follow more hashtags than you do people. This really makes us a content network, in a world traditionally dominated by feeds that are based on people you follow.

What is one resource you could use that would take this to the next level?

It really comes down to time. Someone’s always working when you’re sleeping, and innovation occurs more rapidly today than ever before. Most founders are required to be jacks of all trades, but at the same time, we all have other full time jobs, so time management is critical. My biggest help has been to focus on what needs to happen each month, then set weekly goals that I can budget my daily time on. Breaking it down to bite size pieces makes a big difference.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

If you’d like to join our beta group, email bryon@hashup.com. We love coffees, good discussion and innovative ideas so shoot us a line!

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