On day 2 of the Orange Blogger Bus Tour we took a team into Silicon Valley to meet with a company renowned as something as something of a mystery. Swipp, based in Mountain View, is – well, the fact is we don’t actually know. Nobody does. Which made the briefing with them a bit of an odd one.
Swipp has a hugely impressive set of founders and directors and its operations team is a bunch of experienced, massively professional sorts. Founder and CEO Don Thorson and his partner Charlie Costantini – now named Chief Swipp Officer – have together been starting up and running companies in the Valley for over 30 years. Don was formerly CMO of Ribbit prior to its purchase by BT. The guys have some pedigree, no doubt about it.
The Swipp operations team of Brett, Kristie and Frederik that greeted us on arrival was equally impressive and welcoming. Brett gave us a great overview of Swipp, what it is and where it is going. Well, or rather he did up to a point.
See the thing is that Swipp is at the moment a mystery wrapped in a riddle and lobbed inside a frustrating, commercially-sensitive enigma. Pre-presentations to the Orange blogger team we established a verbal NDA with Brett, and agreed not to write anything sensitive or indeed about the product at all. Because Swipp does not go to market until December 2012.
So the meeting was a bit puzzling. We all wanted to get excited about Swipp and where it’s going but it’s quite hard to do so when you remain in the dark about the product. Is it mobile? Probably. Is it social? Clearly. Is it an app? Almost certainly. A platform? Could be. Is it going to change the world? That’s the pitch.
The pitch is that Swipp is going to change the social media landscape. According to Brett there is a layer missing in the current social world – Google and Facebook, the giants of the arena, are ignoring the sentiment layer. Facebook is about utility said Brett, and it and Google are using your data to simply get bigger. They gather information while not really caring what people ‘feel’ about things. Swipp will apparently change this, and they’ve secured $3.5 million in funding from Groupon investors Old Willow Partners to do so.
Another claim made by Swipp is that Facebook and Twitter were both designed and launched with no real revenue model in mind, which is debatable in Facebook’s case at least.
So the process of elimination came down to something like the following. Swipp is not just an app. It will be heavily marketed. It will be global. The company has an ambassador program in place which will ensure it has 200 champions around the world by its December launch. It has telco rollout elements to it. It brings the ‘sentiment’ level to the social world which is currently ignored. It will be both B2C and B2B. And to this point that’s about all we know. Keep your eyes peeled for the December launch to find out what all the fuss is about.