A research question led to the start of a company for Trevor Ferree and Aidan McCarthy, the founders of Raleigh-based TSV Analytics.
The duo, who are currently participating in RIoT’s Accelerator Program (RAP), originally bonded over their mutual love for soccer when they met at NC State’s freshman orientation. Then, unaware it would eventually forge his business, Ferree started working on undergraduate research on social media analytics with NC State Professor Bill Rand in the Poole College of Management, then pulled in McCarthy.
At the time (in 2020), some corners of the Internet were very focused on whether baby bottles presented a risk through a (then) common ingredient in their manufacture, bisphenol A (BPA). Together, Ferree and McCarthy focused on how they could predict the next Internet obsession before it happened, based on social media activity. They realized there was no social media analytics tool to predict the next viral topic.
This was the foundation for TSV Analytics—the name stands for Topic, Sentiment and Virality Analytics—which was founded in 2020. The startup’s technology can predict how viral specific topics will be in upcoming weeks. By using predictive analytics, TSV is increasing social media key performance indicators (KPIs) and saving social media managers time so they don’t have to read through thousands of posts daily.
“Our goal at TSV Analytics is to keep our clients responsible and aware of what’s going on,” Ferree said. “We believe that every company should be tracking their online presence, and TSV Analytics can provide the insights to the current and upcoming conversations surrounding brands, industries and competitors.”
The TSV product officially launched in the second half of 2021 and has so far brought on 12 beta-testing clients, including Peloton and Durham-based Get Spiffy. By working with these companies’ social media managers, Ferree said they’ve been able to successfully iterate and improve the platform.
Launching in the middle of the pandemic, Ferree said companies were also more open to utilizing advanced tech than they were previously.
“I feel like there was a lot of digital transformation that was going on within companies,” Ferree said. “I think that the companies that we’re working with and companies in general are a lot more open to these analytics and advanced technologies that Covid kind of forced people to get acquainted with.”
TSV Analytics’ growth is uniquely tied to the Triangle tech scene. After all, it is an NC State startup, forged by undergraduate research, and now connected to Raleigh-based mentors and the RIoT Accelerator Program. Ferree said he feels that he’s been able to reach out to anyone in the Triangle and tell them he’s a recent NC State grad working on a startup, and people are eager to help.
“I’ve never really been turned down,” Ferree said. “Everyone is super-accepting and willing to give advice.”
So far, TSV Analytics remains bootstrapped but hopes to secure outside funding or attend a paid accelerator program to get to the next level following the conclusion of RIoT.
During the rest of 2022, Ferree said that TSV Analytics—which is currently only merged with Reddit and Twitter—is looking to integrate additional social media platforms like Tik Tok, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook. This way, TSV Analytics can become a one-stop shop for social media management and analytics, increasing social media managers’ return on investment (ROI).
“We know that all of these conversations aren’t just happening on Reddit and Twitter,” Ferree said. “We want to have the full scope of what everyone is saying about these brands for these clients that we’re working with.”