Tech Startup Trufan Connects Davon Reed, Kyle Kuzma, NBA Stars to Biggest Fans

It’s never too early to invest your money. That’s the mindset of 23-year-old Indiana Pacers shooting guard Davon Reed, who knows there is a short shelf life as an NBA player.

“You don’t really know how long your window of opportunity is going to be,” Davon tells CloseUp360. “Just taking advantage of your blessing or your financial situations, and being able to invest in something that can have a tremendous return.”

Davon has invested in Trufan, a Vancouver-based social media startup that uses a proprietary algorithm to help some of the world’s biggest brands and influencers identify and reward their top fans on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

“The way that social media is proving to grow, it seems like a very good investment and a very good time to be partnering and becoming business savvy, and divulging in different ventures,” adds Davon, who joins Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma among current NBA players who have invested in Trufan.

Social media connects people from all over the world, but Trufan digs deeper than that. It provides a new way to interact with fans by highlighting influencers’ most engaged fans to directly reward and segment them using various filters.

“I think it’s cool and it’s neat to have a platform where they can tell you who you directly connect to, how you connect to them, and what specific posts they like so it’s just all very interesting,” he says. “It’s not only just interesting, but it’s beneficial for building brands and even making money, and promoting itself or promoting anything.”

Nowadays, there’s much more to social media than just sharing pictures, posting videos and leaving comments. For a professional athlete like Davon, it’s also a way to monetize the following and influence he’s building by way of a powerful platform in the NBA.

“Building your brand will give you different opportunities to make money, different business ventures, so the platform has definitely grown from just an entertainment platform to business and business opportunity,” he says. “So I think that’s where I’m at—transitioning from how can I use this more than just purely entertainment, but use this as a business opportunity as well.”

Davon has seen an increase in his following since entering the NBA and using Trufan. The power and potential of social media has also helped to pull him out of his shell.

“I’m typically a private person, so I’m not really one to show everything that I do,” he says. “For me, it’s like a double-edged sword—stepping outside of my comfort zone and showing more, but also balancing it because I’m not the type of person to show everything I do.”

For Davon, giving back to his followers through Trufan has been its own reward. He has given away signed jerseys, shorts and shoes, and fielded fan questions during live Q&A sessions.

“Just doing live interviews and having fans see that I’m live,” he says. “Those have been some pretty cool things that I wouldn’t have necessarily done in the past, and I’m looking forward to doing even more stuff.”

Trufan has already caught the attention of some of Davon’s NBA peers. In addition to Kyle, All-Stars Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade are among 400 influencers—including Kevin Hart, Gucci Mane, Cody Ko and Ludacris—who have tested the platform.

"I’ve been a hardcore basketball fan for several years. It’s where I got my nickname 'Swish' from," says founder and CEO Swarochish Goswami. "So having players like Davon is really special because they bring a different perspective to our business, and have the ability to put us in touch with some great power players that can move the needle quickly.”

More than 200 brands have tried out the beta as well, with Western Union, McDonald’s Canada, the UFC, Under Armour, K-Swiss and theScore among the early adopters. The overall interest helped Trufan raise $500,000, which it announced this week on social media. The company will also host a podcast where top fans get to interview their favorite celebrities, and a web series that takes viewers behind the scenes of the growing startup.

Davon is looking forward to his future with Trufan. He believes in the product’s power to transform how athletes and influencers connect with their fans, by finding the signals amid the noise of social media.

“I think this platform gives you an opportunity to connect mostly to people that want to see you, want to support you and want to have interactions with you,” he says. “So I think this is the way of weeding out the unwanted stuff.”

 

Ashley Nevel is a veteran NBA writer and producer based in Phoenix. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.