founder

Founder Profile: The Man Putting An End To Fake News

Summary

With Donald Trump as President came the rise of the #fakenews movement. The fake news was not necessarily caused by Trump, but he has shed a great deal of light on the widespread issue of false content online.

With fake news now mainstream there has never been a more pressing need for a way to distill the truth from lies. That is where Proof Media comes into play with a solution that actually incentivizes you the reader to vote on what content you think is fact. 

In doing so, we collectively can determine what the truth is and put an end to #fakenews. Want to learn more about this awesome new company? We sat down with Co-Founder, Luigi D’Onorio Demeo to get to the ‘truth’ about this organization. Check it out below.

Chris Lustrino

Luigi, how did you come to found Proof Media and what is the genesis story?

Luigi D'Onorio Demeo

I worked in financial services for most of career. I worked on an institutional credit index trading desk as well as a cash equities trading desk at Citigroup. I also held other more operation roles in my time there. My co-founder, Chris Young recruited me to work at an economic consulting shop and we eventually created the idea of Proof

Chris Lustrino

For those that don’t know, how do you define Proof Media as a business?

Luigi D'Onorio Demeo

Proof is an online platform where we voters can stake monetary votes on the truthfulness of content. Proof aggregates these blind votes and takes a fee on the payout of closed votes. Proof’s business is inherently scalable and is the best chance at identifying misinformation quickly and at scale.

Chris Lustrino

You have received VC dollars in the past 6 months. Who funded you and why are you now raising capital from the crowd?

Luigi D'Onorio Demeo

Proof received a seed funding commitment of $1,000,000 from a venture capital firm, Reflective Ventures in May of 2018. We set up this crowdfunding raise alongside our current institutional capital raise because, from an ethical perspective, we believe that early adopters and users of Proof should be able to participate in the upside of Proof. The capital will be used to develop additional features of the released alpha as well as build out the voting network.

Chris Lustrino

How do you build a trusted brand for consumers and have enough size to ensure that the ratings of truth uphold in the early days?

Luigi D'Onorio Demeo

What is interesting about Proof is that the brand is the people. We are not hiring an army of fact-checkers to do this work, we instead incentivize all people to do it. We plan to created a brand by building a community that feels empowered to identify the truth and take back their internet.

Chris Lustrino

With a business like this so reliant on scale, how do you plan to go to market and acquire customers?

Luigi D'Onorio Demeo

We have conducted a market research study to identify the persona of the most likely Proof Voter. With additional capital we plan to target and market to those individuals. Our premise is built on the fact that people can do social good and make money at the same time.

Chris Lustrino

Can you talk about how the platform is monetized and how users will be rewarded for participating?

Luigi D'Onorio Demeo

Users need to put up a stake on each vote. When the voting concludes, a payout is made from the non-simple minority to the majority. Proof takes a 10% fee of this payout and that is the main revenue source of the platform.

Chris Lustrino

Does the general crypto market, which has been down meaningfully in past months have any negative implications for your business, and if so what do those look like?

Luigi D'Onorio Demeo

We are in no way tied to the crypto market. We are not selling a token, we simply use blockchain as a tool just like we just AWS as a tool.

Chris Lustrino

What concerns do you have about launching a platform like this and how are you trying to mitigate those concerns?

Luigi D'Onorio Demeo

Our biggest concern is establishing a Voter network and gaining adoption. As this is a relatively new concept, it will take capital and time to educate people on the concept.

Chris Lustrino

What does the team look like today and what are the main components of the business you will need to hire for?

Luigi D'Onorio Demeo

We currently have a development team of 5 full-time people that span from Minnesota to Poland. In addition to that we have 3 full-time members in management and marketing. Other members of the team are on a contract basis for projects such as UX design and our economic team. After the capital raise, we have a need to hire additional talent in marketing and community building.

Chris Lustrino

How do you think about the long term business exit? Is this a standalone business or an acquisition?

Luigi D'Onorio Demeo

The long-term business model is interesting. Given the revenue model, with adoption, this is clearly a standalone business. However, Proof can solve a major problem for most social media platforms. It would be an attractive partner/target for those type of firms.

As you can see, Luigi and his team have created a unique model and platform that aligns monetary incentive with desired outcome. In doing so, perhaps Proof Media can make positive, meaningful change in our broken mainstream media system.

Stay tuned to see if the Proof Media team gets our coveted Top Deal rating. Be sure to invest HERE.  

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About: Chris Lustrino

A Boston College Eagle for life, on a mission to democratize startup investing for all people at KingsCrowd, with a passion for Fintech, investing, social impact, doing well and doing good, and an avid runner, cyclist and writer.

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