Property Portal Watch Madrid 2019’s Pitch Club winner was Conor Lyden, Founder, and CEO of Trustap.com, established in 2017 and based in Cork, Ireland. Trustap is a digital transaction platform that claims to completely protect its users from being scammed when buying or selling with someone they don't know. As the Pitch Club winner, Trustap received EUR 20,000 investment from CAV Investment Group (via a convertible note).
Lyden was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about Trustap.
ONLINE MARKETPLACES: Tell us a little bit about your company and how it came about.
Conor Lyden: Trustap is a transaction platform, specifically designed for people who are buying, selling or renting online, or in person, from strangers. It's a unique safe transaction system that holds the buyer's money, and then releases it to the seller once the item has been received and all the necessary milestones have been completed. This process combines an escrow-style transaction with the posting or handover of the item in question too so that the entire transaction is managed and not just the money part.
The platform has been designed specifically to integrate with existing marketplaces and can turn a classified marketplace into a safe transactional marketplace really quickly. The cool thing is that it doesn't require major time or resources from the marketplace itself to make this happen and can open up a whole new world of revenue streams and data insights that they wouldn't have been able to access before.
The idea behind Trustap originated when I was studying engineering in university in Ireland. I used to travel to the UK quite often to watch the football team I support, Liverpool FC, and I would always try and find tickets to the match on a couple of local classified marketplaces, but the seller, who was a complete stranger to me, would always insist on being paid first. I was never comfortable doing this and I had also recently experienced the nerve-wracking process of meeting another stranger in a poorly lit supermarket car park with an envelope full of cash to buy a second-hand car, so I thought - 'there must be a better way of doing these transactions'. Now there is - Trustap!
OM: How did you come across Online Marketplaces (Property Portal Watch) and, have you been to one of our conferences before?
Conor Lyden: At Trustap, we realized that we could provide a lot of value to marketplaces if we could partner with them and so, after some research, it became apparent that the Online Marketplaces conferences was an excellent opportunity to meet and learn from some of the leading companies in this space.
We attended our first conference, Property Portal Watch, in Madrid in October 2019. It was a fantastic experience and I was fortunate enough to be selected to present Trustap to the attendees as part of the Pitch Club.
OM: Who recommended you present at the Property Portal Watch Pitch Club?
Conor Lyden: I actually applied to the Pitch Club as soon as I saw it was going to be a part of the conference. After speaking with some of the Online Marketplaces team about Trustap, they thought it would be a really good fit and so I was delighted to be selected. It was such a good opportunity to spread the word about Trustap and show how easy and effective we have made it for marketplaces to move closer to the transaction and provide a future-proofed solution to their users.
OM: What was your experience?
Conor Lyden: The pitch itself was a unique experience for me personally. To present on stage in front of such a large audience, all of whom had a knowledge of the space that we're adding value to, was exciting. Simon Baker and the judging panel epitomized this as they all know the world of online marketplaces so well, and so to actually win the Pitch Club was incredible and really validated what we're doing here at Trustap and how we're in the right space as many marketplaces are looking to move closer to the transaction and we specialize it, making it easy for them to do so.
OM: Would you recommend that someone else pitch their company before the PPW audience and why?
Conor Lyden: I would definitely recommend to anyone that, if they can, they should grab the opportunity to present at Pitch Club with both hands. It's very rare that you would get the exposure to the caliber of the audience that attends these conferences and to get their attention in the form of a pitch is so valuable.
OM: What has been the feedback after you won the Pitch Club?
Conor Lyden: We were delighted with the feedback we got regarding Trustap after Pitch Club. Lots of people were impressed with our business, our technology and in particular how seamless it could integrate with their marketplace, either as a white-label integration or even just a plug and play solution. I think this was something that some of the attendees didn't realize, to begin with, that it actually doesn't have to be a huge undertaking to move a step closer to the transaction. By partnering with Trustap it can be done very effectively without a big spend or resources being drained.
OM: Has Pitch Club opened any doors for you?
Conor Lyden: Pitch Club has definitely opened doors for us. A couple of the marketplaces we're partnering with at the moment got in touch off the back of us winning the Pitch Club award in Madrid so it has been really positive.
OM: What's next for Trustap?
Conor Lyden: Trustap's goal is to enable as many people as possible to have complete Peace of Mind when they transact online or in person, no matter who it's with. A great way of reaching more people is by partnering with market-leading marketplaces who get significant commercial value from the partnership too, as well as the added bonus of the marketplace's reputation improving and being known as a safe place to buy and sell. We have some really cool new features in the pipeline too so we're excited to get those live and continuing to grow in 2020.
Over 200 attendees are expected at our next event - the Asian Property Portal Watch Conference in Thailand. The Conference will be held in Bangkok from 26th to 27th February 2020, and it will run for two days, featuring expert Industry Speakers, Innovative Companies at the forefront of the online real estate industry. The Asian Property Portal Watch Conference also offers amazing Social Events, a perfect opportunity for networking.
Pitch Club is particularly appealing to investors and corporate executives looking to network, hire talent, get inspired or are involved in the business development of up-and-coming companies, as well as accredited investors looking for investment or co-investment opportunities, startups and early-stage companies developing a viable business model, and entrepreneurs whose goal is to disrupt and change the future of the industry.
Anyone can attend a Property Portal Watch Pitch Club event. If you are planning to launch a business, but are unsure how to go about it, this is a great event to connect with mentors and potential investors, as well as educate yourself on all aspects of initiating a business. Pitch Club is a great step toward teaching you how to present your idea and more importantly how to be investable.
If you are a startup and you want to win a 20.000€ investment from CAV Investment Group (via a convertible note), you are strongly encouraged to complete the Bangkok Property Portal Watch Pitch Club application form here before the 17th of February.