After checking out Toronto startup Tagtivate for a little bit we thought the best way to describe it is a Digg or Reddit for 2012. If Digg or Reddit had come out this year, it may be organized and searchable via hashtag. Everyone is using hashtags these days on Twitter, Instagram, heck even Facebook.
The hashtag is a peculiar little thing, you simply but a # sign in front of something and it’s easily searchable on any of the existing social networks.
What Tagtivate has done is taken the socially driven hash tag and put it on a content recommendation site for organization.
The Tagtivate team does a great job of providing examples in our interview below, the concept is fairly simple though.
Instead of a bunch of html links that can look like jibberish or instead of trying to come up with that all important Reddit, Digg or Hacker News headline, you simply find the content you want to share and hashtag it. If I wanted to post good startup stories to the Tagtivate platform I would simply add a #startup to the piece of content.
Check out our interview with Tagtivate below.
What is Tagtivate?
Definition of “Tagtivate” :
verb: the action of making a post (on www.tagtivate.com) out of an already existing set of contents on the net and attaching a set of hash tags to it to help characterize the nature/category of the post.
TAGtivate is a new and exciting way of following, sharing, and organizing interesting and trending contents on the web. You can follow topics that interest you on TAGtivate by following the corresponding hash-tags that reflect your interests. New TAGtivations belonging to the hashtags you’re interested in will then automatically stream to your home page on TAGtivate.
The idea is to enable users to browse and follow quality contents related to their interests TAGtivated and rated by other users in an easy and efficient manner.
In layman’s terms, how does it work?
Alright, if my explanation for What’s TAGtivate didn’t do the job since I’m not the best speaker in the world, then let me paint a little picture!
Imagine you’re bored and want to browse through some interesting contents, you go to facebook and see a lot of random posts by your friends, most of which might not be entertaining at all! So you decide to go to TAGtivate.com where you can follow the topics you like through following hashtags and view the contents you want to see with ease!
Now it works the other way around too! Let’s say you’re browsing YouTube and you come across a very interesting music video which you’d like to share with your friends. You decide to TAGtivate (yap, add it to your dictionary ;) ) the content instead of sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin because with TAGtivate you can use the power of Hashtags to enable your targeted audience to find your post with minimal effort.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
TAGtivate’s founders consist of two people, Alireza Samar and Masih Mehdizadeh. Both young, energetic and super excited about TAGtivate.
Alireza is studying computer science with a focus on Artificial Intelligence. He’s also interested in research in the field of Aerospace. He leads the development of our application and is mainly responsible for bringing TAGtivate to life!
And Masih studies physics with a focus on Condensed Matter Physics. His interests in physics include new and exciting phases of matter such as superconductivity and topologically ordered states. He mainly deals with the business side of things to help TAGtivate make financial decisions and form viable business strategies.
Where are you based?
We’re headquartered in Toronto.
What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?
Toronto has a very vibrant startup scene, and there are many active startups with great ideas. I think we’re lucky to be in Toronto because of the availability of different services and many startup events. It’s no Silicon Valley of course…
Also the community is young, culturally very diverse, and people from different regions of the world with different backgrounds have gathered in one place, Toronto!. This leads to the development of services and products which may have never come to life if it wasn’t for the multiculturalism and the fresh perspective of young minds.
How did you come up with the idea for Tagtivate?
The idea of TAGtivate initially started out as a limited version of what it has become today. One day I was browsing through YouTube and I came across a foreign (it was a Persian) music video which had received a lot of views. As I read through the comments, I realized that lots of non-persians from all around the world had commented on the music video and had shared their opinions. This was when I came to the realization that there is no single website on the net purposed for having people of different countries showcase their cultures, traditions, music, or anything else related to their country. So I thought of a web application where each country has its own hash tag and people can post contents under each hash tag and use other complementary hash tags to categorize the posts.
Soon this idea started to evolve as we further discussed and developed it. We realized that it would make more sense to generalize the idea to cover any sort of content on the web; this way we could eliminate the (as we like to put it) “too many social networks, each with ONLY a specific purpose” problem. TAGtivate enables users to follow, share, and organize contents efficiently and interact socially all under one roof; a system which is well versed for the demands of our generation of online users.
How did you come up with the name?
The name came somewhat automatically since there isn’t a word which represents the action of tagging contents and posting it, and the name TAGtivate is pretty self explanatory. So maybe you can add “tagtivate” to your vocabulary as both a verb and a noun!
What problem does Tagtivate solve?
TAGtivate solves a prominent problem faced by many users everyday on the web, which is to stay up to date with the happenings all around the world. It seems like there is a lack of a central tool on the net to allow you to continuously follow the topics you’re most interested in and to view the top contents on the web. Of course you can always GOOGLE a topic of interest and go through link after link in hope of finding some interesting contents, BUT the average bored user may not always know exactly what he/she wants to search for! For instance let’s say I like cars and I’m bored, I could google “cars” and see a bunch of car dealership web pages OR I can go to TAGtivate.com and follow or search the #cars hashtag and see contents which have been TAGtivated and rated by others based on how interesting they were.
We believe that as time goes by, the use of internet becomes more social and the traditional ways of communicating offline are finding their counterparts in the online world. As such, we believe that TAGtivate can take part in this evolution.
What’s your secret sauce?
The secret sauce is best kept a secret! Don’t you think?
Ok I’ll give you this though: one of our secret sauces is our dedication to bringing TAGtivate to life!
What’s one dilemma you’ve encountered in the startup process?
Well, the most fun part of working on any startup is when you have a problem at hand that you need to solve and you have absolutely no clue where to start! You can’t sleep through the night because you’re too excited about getting the task at hand done and push forward! So we don’t like to call them dilemmas, but we don’t have a good name for it yet either!
One of the hardest things to accomplish though, is to come up with a minimum viable product which has enough features to entice the users yet not be overloaded with them as to take a super long time to develop. But again, this is just a part of the startup process and we’re in it for better or worse (but really our focus is on the better!!!).
What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?
The one challenge we have overcome is taking care of the legal work, such as forming an entity and deciding where to do so and what type of an entity to form. The though thing to do was to find a lawyer who spent enough time with us to explain what we needed in order to protect TAGtivate’s intellectual property legally and to minimize liabilities. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to be referred to a very well established and dedicated law firm in Toronto to help us with the legal work.
Who are some of your mentors and business role models?
For me (Masih), certainly my dad, he’s been doing business for as long as I can remember (and probably as long as he can remember). I’ve learned so much from him and he’s truly my business role model and mentor.
Also Steve Jobs (may he RIP)! Okaayyyy, this is way too cliche, I know! But I do admire the way he presented products to the public and how he considered end users. It is key to offer simplicity, capability, and efficiency all at the same time. Like the iPhone!
And for me (Alireza), I think you don’t necessarily need to have a role model! You can try to be smart and learn by taking cues from children’s simplistic actions to Steve Jobs well calculated plans to improve your business sense. Maybe this opinion of mine could be enough proof that I’m not a good businessman at all!
What’s next for Tagtivate?
The next step would be to keep on developing the application and to present the users who have signed up on our landing page with an enticing experience which would make them want to share it with friends and family!