James Beshara

James Beshara

CEO of Tilt

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON December 17, 2015

Discussion

James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
Hi – I’m James Beshara, cofounder and CEO of Tilt. We built the Tilt platform to give people an easy and highly social way to organize and collaborate financially -- whether it's renting a boat with friends, a tailgate for Saturday’s big game, sending the Jamaican Bobsled team to the Olympics, a mayoral race, or protecting a community from rising crime, Tilt has powered it all. I’m excited to be here and answer any of your questions!
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
James - thank you for joining! 1) What is the current state of crowdfunding? What's the future look like? specific sub questions: 1) Will crowdfunding platforms eventually get into taxes? 2) Will anyone be able to invest in startups without being accredited investors?
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@eriktorenberg Hey Erik! Crowdfunding is one of those terms that can mean 100 different things to 100 different people. Our version at Tilt is focused on a mobile world, where we think a huge future lies for crowdfunding/getting people to pool and share resources for anything and everything in their daily lives. If people get used to the concept of being able to pool their resources instantaneously/simply to collectively achieve what individually wouldn't be possible, then I don't know where the ceiling is for where it can go. The current state, I think, is that people have been hearing a lot about "crowdfunding" are familiar with the first generation of "crowdfunding" platforms, but that it hasn't really spilled into their daily lives or the mainstream in a really meaningful way (it's kind of like where blogging was 10-12 years ago... a LOT of hand-waiving, but it took things like Twitter on the consumer side and Wordpress on the enterprise side before we started to see it in our daily lives, either through people like Shaq tweeting his thoughts or entities like Forbes publishing content that we're all reading all hours of the day through the power of online publishing/wordpress). I think the future will be more mainstream, more accessible, more personable, and more mobile.
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
James! What does crowdfunding look like in 5 years?
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@rrhoover mobile and mainstream.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@jjbeshara thanks for joining us today! 🙌 what's the best advice you've ever been given? Flip side, what's the worst?
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@ems_hodge Marc Andreessen once told me that the best founders understand “nuance.” They can hear completely conflicting advice between Monday and Tuesday that are both correct and be able to make sense of what’s right for their specific company. In other words, you can always gain insight from others, but you should never outsource your thinking. The only true generic startup advice is that there is no generic startup advice, so constantly put advice through a lens of “what makes sense for *us*.”
Nick Reed
Nick Reed@nickreednr · Queen's U
Hi @jjbeshara, how do you determine what user-feedback is most relevant to the next development cycle? On a recent call with the Tilt Canadian Ambassador Team you spoke about how Tilt is OBSESSED with its users, and iteratively develop based on their feedback. But with such a broad user-base, pulling you in so many direction, how do you choose what feedback to focus resources/change around?
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@nickreednr Thank you for being a Tilt Ambassador and power user, Nick! This is actually really easy in practice. we view tilt as a content platform like any other content platform (just so happens our content is $$), so similar to a content platform like reddit, facebook, or product hunt, you can actually just focus on the 1-5% of users that create the *most* content and see what they want more of... much higher ROI than generic user feedback or asking people that haven't used the product what they would want in it to get them to try it.
Nick Reed
Nick Reed@nickreednr · Queen's U
Great perspective! Thank you.
Anna Roubos
Anna Roubos@annaroubos · Founder, Table Public Relations
@jjbeshara what apps are on your home screen?
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@annaroubos about five social media apps (love my peeps) -- and then my antidote, my two favorite meditation focused apps (calm and headspace).
Cheney Beshara
Cheney Beshara@cheneybell · artist, Cheney Beshara Art
does tilt have a mascot?
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@cheneybell haha! my lovely wife making an appearance on here! it's funny you mention that because you're probably thinking that our lil dog wendell is our mascot.... BUT there is an even more interesting story here... Not many people know this, but @alexisohanian, co-founder of reddit, actually began to create the tilt mascot back in 2013. When we were about 9-10 months in, he said Tilt needed a mascot and started to draw a meerkat as our mascot "because it was one of the most social, communal animals"... we got to about two or three drafts but never actually implemented it. I still have it in my inbox probably waiting for a reply from me.
Cheney Beshara
Cheney Beshara@cheneybell · artist, Cheney Beshara Art
@jjbeshara @alexisohanian omg I remember that, loved that lil meerkat!!! how bout a meerkat + weenie dog mash up named Tilty?!
Chris Powers, Jr.
Chris Powers, Jr.@iamchrispowers
Hey @jjbeshara! Are you able to share the likelihood that a Tilt campaign creator will create a 2nd campaign vs how likely a Kickstarter campaign creator is to create a 2nd campaign? I.e. Repeat customers
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@iamchrispowers I don't know the repeat rate for creators on kickstarter, but our repeat rate and retention is a major focus for the entire company. Tilt is "the easiest way to collect, fundraise, or sell to your community" and when you try it once, there is a *very* high likelihood of you doing it again within 8 weeks, and my favorite stat is that we see communities get more and more ambitious with their tilts over time (for example, by the third time a user uses tilt, he/she becomes 5x more ambitious with their goal).
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
Had a blast spending an hour with you all! Thanks for the great questions! Download the Tilt app and start using it -- And we always love connecting with our users so feel free to drop us a line at feedback [at] tilt [.] com. Until next time!! -James
Kingsong Chen
Kingsong Chen@kingsongchen · Dev
Hi James, what were some early decisions/resources that helped Tilt achieve such fast growth?
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@kingsongchen one of the pivotal early decisions was being really flexible with where tilt "started out"... we originally thought that non-profits would be a big focus, but then we started seeing groups of friends take to the product more and more and start to grow virally. with my first crowdfunding platform, i was very dogmatic about the vision and how we'd get there -- with tilt it was very different, stubborn on the vision but *really* flexible on the how/the narrow edge of the wedge to get there.
Bryan Kim
Bryan Kim@freshbreakfast · Chief Artist Enabler @ Think Steady
Hey James, Bryan here, crowdfunder of the musicians. My partner and I were talking the other day: while we're long-term bullish on direct-to-fan online commerce, we're less sure on which transaction model to chase. We're starting to see fatigue in traditional crowdfunding, in that it literally fatigues artists stress levels to run a highly public and deadlined campaign, then plan logistics of fulfillment so many months after transaction. The #'s seem to suggest that there's backer fatigue too -- at least in music. Have you seen similar fatigue in other verticals? If so, what "social commerce" format did these former crowdfunders go towards, if anything at all?
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@freshbreakfast hey bryan. we actually have a lot of thoughts here. come by the office sometime, and we'd be glad to share. i think it is all in the expectation management that happens with crowdfunding (and the mismanaged expectations that lead to a less than stellar first-time experience). I think the future will be about dialogue with your community, and a constant flow of collaboration, rather than the current model where a band or creator does one crowdfunding campaign every 2 years, and it is all about one big effort -- in music specifically, there is a reason that artists have gone from full length EPs to releasing more singles/more content more often to their community over the years. It's not a major focus of ours right now, but I think we will see the same when it comes to collaboration and co-creation around commerce.
Junius
Junius@juniusfree
Hi James, 1) How will you divide your time if a user gives you one hour to solve his/her problem? Optional: 2) Filipinos love to help. But the big concern is that most of us (in the Philippines) don't have Paypal, ​etc. to easily send an online donation. My question is...If you launch here in the Philippines, how would you convince a person to put the time/effort to go to the nearest money remittance service just to send their donations? 3) When will you launch in the Philippines? Thanks!
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@juniusfree hey! short answer is: when we can! -- longer answer is: we'll launch in the philippines when we have the structural bandwidth / when more and more filipinos have the ability to pay online (something that we know some really smart/big companies are working hard to solve).
Harry Stebbings
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
@jjbeshara thanks so much for joining us today, as you know the thing in life people are most skeptical of is their money and transition that online. How have you at Tilt established such strong brand loyalty that customers trust you and use you consistently? Always welcome on @twentyminutevc for our Founder's Friday Segment, would be an honour to have you on the show. Drop me a line at harry@thetwentyminutevc.com if you would be interested!
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@harrystebbings Harry - If there’s one rule we follow here at Tilt, it’s "Love our Tilters" (it's our first core value and the easy way to tie-break decisions by asking: "what would show more love to our users?"). The Tilt brand isn’t for us, it’s for our users, and to build a social payments platform that has seen customers recreate our logo above their bed or get a tattoo of the tilt circle/dots (no joke, that recently happened) has shown us just how powerful this simple rule can be we followed ruthlessly. Would love to join the show -- hit me up on twitter and we will make it happen @jjbeshara
Nate
Nate@gameon_nate
Favorite song of the year?
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@gameon_nate chainsmokers - roses. they recently just launched an entire tour on tilt (about three weeks ago and as far as we know the first crowdfunded music tour)... when they melted our servers with traffic, I had to check them out :P... really good stuff
Anna Roubos
Anna Roubos@annaroubos · Founder, Table Public Relations
@jjbeshara if you could tell your 18-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
Clare Sayas
Clare Sayas@claresayas · Tech PR @ Revere
@jjbeshara - are you reading anything interesting right now? Additionally, what are some of your favorite books you'd recommend for someone with a 12-hour flight coming up? :)
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@claresayas The Quartet blew my mind as to how the *United* States was formed after the revolutionary war (very different than the commercialized/revisionist story we still teach our kids). And Reinventing Organizations.
Fred Stevens-Smith
Fred Stevens-Smith@fredsters_s · CEO, Rainforest
@jjbeshara Is it true that you've lost to English people in beer pong several-many times?
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@fredsters_s damnit fred, im on here trying to be professional. yes. this happened. get over it. 2016 rematch is in the works.
satishkataria
satishkataria@satishkataria · Managing Director, Catapooolt
@jjbeshara hi! Are you looking to come to India and what are your thoughts on crowdfunding potential in India
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@satishkataria my background is in development economics (picked up web development in college), and my co-founder, khaled, is from outside of alexandria egypt -- and given our backgrounds, we actually think the power of crowdfunding is going to *bigger* in the developing world/explode more than the developed, to be honest. Leaning on your community, coordinating resources to collectively make something happen that otherwise wouldnt isn't just appealing; it's literally the way of life (when living/working in the townships of south africa before starting tilt, you would see 10 family members collect money for a nephew's medical operation, 25 families fund the school teacher in their side of the township, 19 farmers pool money for fixing their water pump... and that would all be on a Tuesday). We have a phrase here at Tilt, #TiltTheWorld, because we want to get to the developing world as fast as humanly possible (maybe even irrationally so; we started going international at ~30 people, way earlier than most advised).
satishkataria
satishkataria@satishkataria · Managing Director, Catapooolt
@jjbeshara @satishkataria Thanks for these interesting insights!
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@jjbeshara what were some of the biggest challenges you faced when first setting up Tilt? How did you overcome them?
James Beshara
James Beshara@jjbeshara · ceo @ tilt
@ems_hodge man, so many. getting the first investor took 6-8 months of talking to him. our series a from a16z took about 6 days. so it's a good reminder that perseverance is key and challenges/resistance at the beginning ends up creating the muscle that makes the stuff down the road that much easier. trying to get a real estate developer to invest in two kids in texas/not in silicon valley with a concept for a social payments platform definitely had its challenges, but those challenges led to being able to hear 'no' and not let it phase us.
neeharika sinha
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
hello @jjbeshara great to met you here! What are the difficulties Tilt faced in building partnerships and how did you overcome it?