Young Money interviews Navid Zolfaghari of TriFame
What is TriFame?
TriFame.com provides an online platform for aspiring artists to audition in front of the world 24/7 for the opportunity of becoming the next big star. Our vision is to be the premier source of talent on the Internet, by hosting user-created content in the areas of music, dance, and modeling.
With a voting system, the general public will be engaged in the talent discovery process. Periodically, we will reward the top artists in their respective fields with industry-based incentives.
TriFame.com gives aspiring artists the exposure needed to become the next biggest star.
How exactly did you go about coming up with the idea of TriFame.com and bringing it to life?
As someone who watches all the reality shows from American Idol to America’s Next Top Dance Crew and…. yes… America’s Next Top Model, I noticed that there are so many people out there who just haven’t been discovered. This could be due to lack of connections, time for auditions, and mainly luck. So then it hit me, what if I could eliminate all that and simply put the power in the hands of the public? Then came TriFame.com.
So you had the idea… then what?
I partnered up with a childhood friend of mine and spent the next year refining the idea over and over again with a very thorough business plan. Once we had our game plan in place, we then needed money. We were lucky enough to raise about $75,000 from friends and family to launch our venture.
We have yet to monetize the website but when we decide to, we will have five different revenue streams: advertising, premium memberships, artist stores, user promotions, and user-generated branding.
Can you tell me a little more about the industry you work in?
TriFame.com will operate in the Internet broadcasting industry which is experiencing rapid growth. According to research firm eMarketer, Internet advertising will jump about 30 percent, from $12.5 billion to $16 billion this year. And $26.6 billion is predicted to be spent on online advertising in 2009, with $1.5 billion going to video advertising.
There have been many major acquisitions in the industry—most notably Youtube’s acquisition by Google for $1.65 billion. Also, the millennial generation (anyone born in the 80’s) has been spending more and more time online. Research firm Frank N. Magid Associates said millennial spend 2.48 hours a day online; the same amount of time they spend watching TV.
The increase in Internet advertising, combined with the public’s heavier use of the Internet as a form of entertainment, makes this industry an attractive one to enter. The recent wave of shows (such as the ones mentioned above) has shown the public’s willingness to view and participate in talent contests. These trends provide a profitable opportunity for TriFame to operate.
What are your site statistics?
Since launching the beta site in April 2008, we have received 350,000 impressions and 25,000+ visits from 109 countries. Our thousands of users are also very active, accounting for an average of 14 pages per visit—higher than YouTube’s 13 pages per visit.
We are currently working on bringing continuous improvements to our website, creating mutually beneficial relationship with industry leaders to provide career advancing incentives for our users, and securing an angel round of funding.
What was your initial career path and are you in the occupation you’ve always wanted to be in?
I always wanted to be a “baller” (pun intended). The basketball side of that just didn’t seem to go as planned, so once I realized that, I wanted to be a doctor (or thought I did). I come from a long line of doctors so it was a natural thought. I went to the University of Florida honors college and signed up during preview as a biomedical and molecular biology major.
My first semester, I couldn’t get myself to wake up for my Intro to Chemistry class, and that is when I knew medicine wasn’t my passion. I always liked business so I got an internship at Merrill Lynch to see if it was something I wanted to pursue. One day at the office my boss had asked me to cold call 635 accountants. Half way through it he said, “you know you should smile when you call, it comes through over the phone.” That is when I decided I wanted to be my own boss; I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I went on to create three companies, one that failed, one that was semi-successful, and one that will be the next big Internet company.
What is your take on competition?
No matter what your business is, you will always have competition and probably a lot of it. Competition breed innovation and innovation brings success. Edward de Bono said, "The winner is the chef who takes the same ingredients as everyone else and produces the best results." At the end of the day you need to see what ingredients work and which ones don’t, and then create a better recipe. You need to constantly reinvent yourself.
What do you consider is the most important trait that you need in your position?
Passion. If you are passionate enough about something, you will make it happen. There are far too many people out there who are successful. So what separates you from the next guy? You just need to want it that much more.
What is your personal story?
I am a recent graduate from the University of Florida Honors College (Go Gators!) residing in Miami, Florida. My motto is “second place only means you are first in a long line of losers.” Having been the Valedictorian for my high school class, I strive to be a Valedictorian in everyday life. I am an avid poker player and absolutely love the world of sports. I am very passionate about the subject of entrepreneurship and hope to be a pioneer in advancing the education of it. My future goals besides being a serial entrepreneur include being a venture capitalist, professor, and who knows, maybe President?
What is your number one piece of advice to other potential entrepreneurs?
From my experiences, I have lots of advice to others. First off, write a clear and concise business plan. Some tend to think you only need to write a business plan when you need funding, but it is crucial to write it to guide you towards your goals. Second, nobody knows it all. Ask a lot of questions, and listen; you’d be surprised how much you can learn. Last, chase your dreams, not money. If you are doing what you love then the money will follow. Never keep your eye off the prize (however you define the prize to be).
For more information check out www.trifame.com.