Who remembers the first two companies to pitch on “Jason’s Shark Tank”? That’s right Emotify and Vivolve, I reached out to John Theriault of Vivolve to see how things were going. For those of you who don’t remember Vivolve is basically LinkedIn for teens. Allowing teens to create a bunch of mini profiles that link together to paint a picture. In addition to academics, athletics and jobs, they can create a volunteer service profile, as well as profiles for all of their arts (visual and performing) and music interests. All of this trains them to be aware of how and what is important in the job world.
Below are 3 sections to get an idea of what a profile looks like:
Please catch me up, what has happened since your call in?
As you know, I was given a great opportunity to pitch Vivolve.com on TWIST’s very first Jason Shark Tank episode. At the time, we were still in the final stages before launch. Immediately after the show, I got several contacts from viewers of that episode and was able to make some great business contacts. Our appearance got us invited to pitch at an event in Phoenix.
In late October, Vivolve.com was able to launch into beta mode with some very early success. With virtually no budget, and a word of mouth marketing campaign only, the site has been able to garner many thousands of unique visitors, 100k plus hits and hundreds of actual signups. Our average page view count (4.5) and bounce rate average (under 50%) has been better than expected for what we have to work with.
How do you verify the recruiter’s legitimacy?
When a recruiter registers with the site, we call their organization to verify they are who they say they are and they are tasked with recruiting. This is just one level of security we offer our registrants.
What has been the hardest thing for you to date, since launch?
Like any startup, we have faced some challenges thus far. The biggest is trying to get momentum operating on a shoestring budget. We have a number of marketing initiatives identified that should give us a big bang for our buck, but like everything, those take money. A second big thing has been trying to respond to feedback, especially design suggestions, and implementing those changes on the fly. We have been given very good feedback by some very successful people and have tried to follow it. The unexpected work, however, always seems to push other things back with a small team.
What kind of feedback has the site gotten since launch?
The overwhelming amount of feedback has been off the charts complimentary. The idea/concept has been stamped with a unanimous thumbs up. A tool for teens to help them gain exposure to opportunities after high school is pretty much a no-brainer. Some of our messaging needed to undergo a facelift to better highlight our benefits and those updates are still a work in progress and forthcoming soon. All in all, we have had a huge amount of eyeballs (teens, coaches, educators and parents) give us a stamp of approval.
Are you looking for more funding?
We are absolutely looking for an angel investor or two to help get us to the next level. We are prepared to offer a generous amount of equity if we get a generous amount of capital. Since the site is built out already, and we manage our own hosting etc, a large part of the next dollars we bring in would be for marketing purposes. This marketing, we feel, will get us very quickly to first revenues so we never have to look back. A target for capital right now is in the 150k to 500k range.
How can the TWiST community help?
I would like to thank Jason again for the opportunity to introduce Vivolve.com on his show. As I said earlier, we are in a very different stage right now than August, that being a live site and not just a concept in the making. Besides a capital infusion, any PR from the TWIST community would be great PR. Whether it’s on their blogs or websites, Twitter and Facebook mentions and even telling their family and friends that are teens to register. We are truly trying do our part in helping our nation’s future leaders get exposed to opportunities that they otherwise might never have gotten. I guess we are just looking for that big break like so many others have gotten, and hopefully the TWIST family can give us that next big push!