Singapore-funded Russian startup turns Twitter accounts into stock exchange value
This week, the Russian startup scene has witnessed the launch of a new concept that could potentially target half a billion users around the world: Twistock.com, a site that transforms Twitter social influence into virtual stock value and ultimately material value.
Upon registration, Twistock users receive a certain amount of virtual money, or starting capital, in proportion of their social influence as measured by number of followers and microblogging activity. They also have their own stocks, whose value is initially determined by Twistock based on 20 parameters reflecting their microblogging activity and influence.
Twistock market players can buy or sell any Twitter user’s stocks, whose value varies depending on offer and demand, as well as on social influence parameters. The virtual money received at the start or earned in these exchanges can be used to acquire real goods in the Twistock Store.
“Twistock provides Twitter users with an opportunity to monetize their social influence,” explained project co-founder Alexey Giyazov in an exchange with East-West Digital News. “It also offers a chance to get closer to the ones you admire: anyone can own Justin Bieber stocks, or even acquire a controlling stake of Barack Obama.”
Twistock’s concept was inspired by an experience led earlier this year by The Twi Journal, a Russian resource rating Twitter accounts. Some features remind those of Klout.com as well as of Empireavenue.com, a website that has also developed trading functions.
The site worked in closed test mode during its first few months with 1,500 Twitter accounts, including those of TechCrunch authors. While a first version launched officially on Sept. 17, Twistock plans to release a more advanced English version later this fall.
“We target the North American and Asian markets, including Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter,” Giyazov said.
Last week, the startup secured an investment from Singapore investors. Neither the investment amount nor Twistock’s valuation were disclosed, but Giyazov said he yielded “a significant minority stake.”
“We are open to additional seed stage investment,” he added.
Giyazov is 24-year old innovation manager at a major Russian bank. His partner Nickolay Yegorov, 20, previously worked as a programming engineer at Yandex, the Russian search giant. The startup is currently hiring its very first employees.
Twistock has its office in Moscow but has been registered in Singapore.