Twalop’s Social Transaction Platform Will Make You Cash – And It’s Free
Business-wise, Nim Santo has become fierce in light of his recent experience of living and working in Tel Aviv. Having spent half of his life in Palo Alto, Santo relates to what he describes as a generally more relaxed disposition. This disposition doesn’t subtract from his desire to make his startup, Twalop, the way in which users world-wide sell and share goods online.
Twalop allows users to buy and sell goods directly to each other via Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or email via PayPal or with a credit card. It’s a social transaction platform that also has the benefit of not costing users anything. It’s free.
Santo believes in setting clear goals and working hard to create his own luck. At times, the impossible is only actually impossible to him if the first step hasn’t been taken. Santo has taken it, and he presents his social transaction platform to social network users who want to sell items with just a few clicks.
Nim was excited to talk to Killerstartups about what’s on his plate and what his next moves are – Here’s what he shared with us :
So how did you first get the idea for Twalop?
I first came up with the idea of allowing women to sell their jewelry online by taking advantage of social networks. I looked at Etsy and other available options and did not see any solution that was simple as well as free. So, that’s when I decided that it was an issue that needed to be solved and that I could solve it.
How did you come up with the name Twalop?
I originally came up with the name Wallzit, we coded and designed the site for wallzit, but we later found out to our surprise that Facebook owns the trademark to “Wall” and “The Wall.” So, I then had to come up with a name quickly because I really hate to miss deadlines. I firmly believe that working quickly is one of the most important qualities for a successful online business to be able to do.
Did you code Twalop yourself?
First, I did a mock up of how I wanted Twalop (originally wallzit) to look like. It was important to make sure that not only the design was right, but it was right for the type of market we were going after. Then, I just hired one main programmer, and he had 2 other guys working for him. They’re still all on the payroll.
Luckily for me, my programmer/designer is a close friend of mine, so it’s really easy to work with him. He’s super flexible and easy going overall. In my previous experiences, I had found that working with larger companies is much harder and much more tedious because everything takes 3 times as long.
And how long did it take you to get Twalop up and running?
It took me 2 months to launch twalop and a month to work out what would go into beta. It’s been a learning experience and I’ve enjoyed every minute.
And about funding : did you self fund Twalop or did you have outside investors?
Twalop is self-funded by me – Bootstrapping it all the way!
Have you at any time in your career had mentors, which have been instrumental in the development of you on a personal or business level?
I have worked with some of the brightest guys online. I was younger at the time and could not really see how working with them would affect me later on. Looking back at it now, every experience I’ve had has brought me up to this present moment when I look to build a service that will really help people anywhere – that’s Twalop.
Excellent – and what about rewards. How do you reward their hard work?
Well, when my programmers missed their deadlines, I still paid them what was due. It’s all a loop really – It came back to me and Twalop when I needed extra features done and they did not charge me for it. Giving and receiving.
Why do you think it’s the right moment for Twalop?
I think with the way people are interacting with social networks and the web in general that it shows that there is a great need for free software that empowers people to sell anything through social networks that they own or have made.
Why do you think Twalop is better suited to serve users than the competition, such as startup Gumroad?
Actually, I only found out about Gumroad after I started Twalop. They have a sharp team over there, but their rates are pretty high and they actually process the transactions which is wrong in my opinion. On top of that, Gumroad only allows transactions up to $1,000. With Twalop, you can sell anything and have your own “wall” or destination. That being said, with Twalop you can be an average Joe selling his old laptop, or a local jewelry store who doesn’t have knowledge about running an online store but who does have a Facebook page. Twalop empowers everyone, without cost.
Great – what has your previous business experience taught you about how to better execute Twalop’s objectives?
My previous businesses experiences have thought me about myself, my limits, and my capabilities. I think that if you know your limits, what you are capable of and what you are not capable of, then you have a much better shot in running a successful business, off and online.
So, what are Twalop’s long-term objectives both for the business as well as for the users?
Twalop’s long term objective is to provide an easy platform to accept payments by marketing though social networks. I would love to see Twalop step into the blog space next. Business-wise, Twalop’s objective is to gain as many users as possible: worldwide is the goal.
And being on the front lines of Twalop, can you describe to me what it’s like right now?
At the moment there aren’t any major issues to be honest. We are just working to get the user flow right. Asking users for feedback and trying to get the best campaign working right.
How do you go about handling the most challenging aspects of launching a startup?
I think the mental part is the hardest. I’m online most of the day and when I’m away from my computer I’m on my iPhone making sure that everything is ok. Its tough, but it’s rewarding and it’s definitely what I love doing the most.
From who and where did you find the support you needed to launch Twalop?
Well, I asked my friends about the idea, when I initially came up with it, and the solution it offers and they all said they would use it if it was available. Constant support from friends and family has always been there and I appeciate it very much.
Are you able to step away from Twalop and take a mental break? If so, what do you do or how do you do it?
Since I work from home its hard. I try to leave the house at least 3 times a day and work out. I think working out helps the most. Leaving the house helps but when you work out your mind can’t really think about anything else besides finishing the next mile run.
How have you gone about marketing Twalop so that your user base grows?
At the moment not too much – I posted it on my Facebook page and shared it on my friends’ pages. I’ve tested some campaigns on Facebook, Google and AOL. There is still a lot of marketing campaigns that need to go live and tested.
Where are you based and have you found any issues based on your where you live (city, country, or culture based) that have proved to be obstacles to your objectives?
At the moment I’m in Tel Aviv, but I had been living in Palo Alto between the ages of 12 and 25. I’m 26 now and I’m going back to Palo Alto in August. The obstacles I have with my location are primarily the hours, I have the weirdest working hours, but it is part of the fun!
Ok – on the other hand, have you found city or culture specific characteristics that have helped you in achieving your business objectives?
I think being in Tel Aviv helps you appreciate the opportunities back in the States. On the other hand, living and working out here has made me a bit more aggressive business-wise, as I am a very mellow person.
What is it that keeps you moving forward wanting to make Twalop the best it can be?
The thing that keeps me going is my vision for Twalop. I honestly believe Twalop can be a seller’s best friend since it is so simple and effective. The other things that keep me going as an entrepreneur are my own dreams and my own personal wishes to keep pushing myself to my full potential.
And what advice would you give to people interested in going after a startup dream?
Don’t wait. Just do it. I’m a strong believer that luck is made up of hard work. If you want something, you have to take the first step to get there, even if it seems impossible.