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How Tiltify engages Generation Y and Generation Z on social issues

Tiltify, a fundraising platform, teams up with celebrities and influencers to invigorate the next generation into donating for causes. Tiltify CEO Michael Wasserman joins The Final Round to discuss the company’s recently series A funding, where is raised $6.5 million dollars, as well as how millennials and generation Z are getting involved with social issues.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: Welcome back to "The Final Round." Crowdfunding platform Tiltify recently announcing that it's raised $6 and 1/2 million in the series A funding. Now the company works with gamers, also works with digital media stars to build interactive campaigns. Also helps them raise money through these social media platforms.

So for more on this, we want to bring in Tiltify CEO Michael Wasserman. And Michael, it's great to have you on the show. Thanks so much for joining the program. Let's first just talk to us about Tiltify. You work with Twitch, you work with TikTok, YouTube, amongst those social media platforms that you're in business with. How exactly does it work?

MICHAEL WASSERMAN: Sure, so thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here. And really, what we realized is a couple of years ago, that there was a lot of old processes in the donation process, where you'd have to go to these sort of static pages with a Donate button, some text, and a picture that didn't really do much.

So what we did with Tiltify, when we built it, is, we were thinking about people who were in that digital space, content creators that fundraised, and what they wanted. So Tiltify initially is that basic fundraising platform that you think of.

But what we built that was different was, we built interactions with online platforms like Twitch, like TikTok, like YouTube, where people could go live and essentially have their own telethon, just like we're talking right now. You could talk to your friends, your family, your community, but you could have cool graphics pop up that announce people to donate, you can run polls, get very interactive with people, really changing the value proposition. Kind of what you wish the Jerry Lewis telephone would always do for those of us that watched it back in the day.

ANDY SERWER: I love the-- man, I don't even know where to go with the Jerry Lewis telethon. But I'm going to put that on hold for a second but of course, I did like that reference a lot. Wow. OK, this is a side pocket question. I know I'm going to be banging myself on the head, because it's pretty obvious to everyone, except for me. So Tiltify--

MICHAEL WASSERMAN: Don't worry.

ANDY SERWER: --what's it mean?

MICHAEL WASSERMAN: So when we originally started, we were heavy in the gaming space. When Twitch first started pre being purchased by Amazon, only people who played video games could livestream on Twitch. So that was the initial market that we used.

So the logo initially, if you look at our little T logo with the ball, it's the bumper from a pinball machine. And it was the idea of you could tilt a pinball machine by sort of smacking it to kind of get it to do what you wanted. So it was the idea of, at the time, using games to do what you wanted for good.

And frankly, then, we just looked at every sort of end of a sentence we could from Tilt in order to come up with Tiltify and a domain name that we could have back in 2013.

AKIKO FUJITA: Michael, I'm curious where you're finding the most engagement. Is it about just going to those platforms that have the most users? Or are you finding that certain causes do better on a TikTok or certain causes do better on a Twitch?

MICHAEL WASSERMAN: It's a really good question. So we're finding, first and foremost, that one of the things that's obviously doing the best overall is disasters or movements. So overall, you know, when we see a natural disaster, obviously things like racial justice, like we've seen this year, or just raising money generally for coronavirus programs, those really took off this year.

Especially things like even the Australian wildfires the beginning of the year, we would see sort of mass interest from the communities online to create fundraisers on all the platforms. I'd say that, you know, there isn't necessarily a platform specific difference that we've noticed yet between, let's say, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitch as to the cause itself.

But there is a lot of fluidity with the same things that seem to work on one works on all, meaning the same things that seem to be popular across all these platforms like the disasters, like social movements and social causes, are really popular. LGBT rights, Black Lives Matter are all things that are really popular.

And especially also, things with kids like St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, for example, is one of the most popular charities on our platform. So, you know, things that really have a good mission, but also pull on the heartstrings, but things that are helping the world right now are really popular.

SEANA SMITH: Michael, going off that, at the same types of charities, same types of fundraising events happen across all of the platforms, are there any platforms in particular where you see the most traction, where you're getting the most money donated from? Is it TikTok, just because of the sheer popularity of it?

MICHAEL WASSERMAN: Because our integration is newer on TikTok than it is on the other platforms, it's not quite as much. I mean, Gary Vaynerchuk did a really popular one for Meals on Wheels a couple months ago, where he did about 1.15 million that was then matched by TikTok in 12 hours, just by using his TikTok channel. So we have seen some big examples of TikTok, which is, we launched in May. So it's a relatively new integration.

But currently, you know, the biggest money currently comes through Twitch. Twitch, with their communities, they've done a phenomenal job of really expanding communities and gaming, art, music. And these communities really come together, and then, you know, I'd say a very close second is YouTube.

You know, it really just depends on some of the creators use both. So they'll even sort of simulcast. You can take over your Twitch channel, your YouTube channel, your TikTok channel, your Facebook channel the same way you can take over ABC, CBS, and NBC, except it costs much less.

SEANA SMITH: Michael, you just raised $6 and 1/2 million in a Series A funding. What are you going to be able to do? What will these additional-- what will this additional funding enable you to do with the business?

MICHAEL WASSERMAN: We're really excited about this. I mean, we really get to do all of those sort of dream ideas that we had when we started going down this path, you know, create even more interactions with more platforms, like we did with the ones that we've talked about. We're talking to a lot more platforms about building in integrations.

And it allows us to bring in really high end talent. You know, we've had an amazing team, really just bootstrapping it and kind of probably all punching above our weight class a little bit, as startups do. And now we get to go out and really find some amazing people that we've already started to bring on and just build really cool tools.

I think a lot of platforms focus a lot on charities, but not enough on what the fundraisers want to do and what makes them want to fundraise. And that's really where we're going to put our focus heavily.

SEANA SMITH: Michael, real quick, how do you identify the content creators that you want to work with? Is it just all about how many followers they have, or is it about certain specific, I guess, characteristics? How do you identify them?

MICHAEL WASSERMAN: Well, the great thing I think about the platform is the platform is open to all creators. So we don't have to curate all of their fundraisers. It's just the technology that we give to all of them. So we've seen everything from, you know, huge creators, like people known as, like, DrLupo or Ninja that you may or may not be familiar with, that can raise hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in days or hours-- Jacksepticeye.

Or we can-- we've seen creators that have 100 followers that will literally raise still, like, $3,000 to $10,000 in a day, which is, you know, statistically, is actually even more mind shattering when you think about the percentages. So it really lets everybody use the power of their community. We don't have any kind of sort of gateway to being able to use it.

SEANA SMITH: All right, Michael Wasserman, CEO of Tiltify, thank you so much for coming on. It was a fun segment.

MICHAEL WASSERMAN: Thank you so much. I really appreciate It.