Tint, a social media aggregation tool, has all the trappings of the familiar Silicon Valley success story: founded by a trio of recent University of Southern California graduates, the company has managed to on-board 2,000 paying customers, including campaigns with NASDAQ, Krispy Kreme, and a coterie of other major brands.
Where Tint is not so typical, however, is in its bootstrapping: the company is only seven months old, and managed to reach profitability in just three months of operation with a three-man team.
Considering the rocket-ship success so far, the company’s ultimate goal — taking on RebelMouse, founded by former Huffington Post CTO Paul Berry — doesn’t seem too far out of reach.
CEO Tim Sae Koo — seated with co-founders Ryo Chiba, Nik Aitharaju, and intern Eric Wang in the above picture — tells us that Tint has landed the majority of clients through organic growth and word-of-mouth.
“We have barely done any outbound marketing/cold sales yet,” Sae Koo said in an e-mail. “All of it has either been organic via SEO optimization or asking our customers to refer us to their network that they think would enjoy Tint.”
Tint allows clients to aggregate and filter their social media content into custom campaigns and social hubs, with pricing starting at $50/month for 10 social account connections.
RebelMouse is the current Big Dog on the Block for social media aggregators, with more than $12 million in VC funding and a place amongst Time Magazine’s 50 Best Websites of 2013. In due new-media fashion, RebelMouse recently returned Time’s favor by poaching Time Inc.’s ad products leader Jarrod Dicker, as well as Bloomberg TV editor Jake Beckman.
Tint, however, is confident in its small-team, big-dream approach.
The Tint founders were not able to raise a Series A round from venture capitalists, and so, as Sae Koo describes in a blog post, the company “raised our middle fingers to all our doubters and decided to take action.” With a small funding round from seed investors, Tint currently sees about 7-8 million page views monthly, and is expecting to bring in $500,000 in revenue by years-end.
In addition to not being beholden to investors, Sae Koo says Tint may have another advantage over RebelMouse: they never plan to insert ads into their client’s social-media pages.
In a case of David vs. Goliath — which this is, if Tint’s numbers are for real — ya gotta root for David. Also, The Huffington Post Mafia of RebelMouse investor Ken Lerer and CEO Paul Berry has to be challenged at some point. Go get ’em, kids.