Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

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Alumni Spotlight - A Crystal Ball for Social Media Trends

Chelsie Hall (MIIPS '18) launches social media analytics startup ViralMoment.

How many content creators and brands daydream about going viral? What if they had the power to identify and understand the next trend before it's trendy?

::ViralMoment has entered the chat::

ViralMoment is an award-winning social media analytics platform that watches more videos than any human possibly could, i.e., hundreds of thousands.

It uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to analyze the audio, text, and actions of videos and then threads those billions of data points into a comprehensive dashboard of user engagement across topics and audiences.

The company has released a powerful enterprise social listening product for TikTok, a virality detection tool for Reddit, and an app to help creators go viral on TikTok - all in less than two years.

4 Screenshots of Go Viral App, depicting trending videos, topics, and sounds on TikTokViralMoment's App provides real-time data on rising trends.

CEO and Founder Chelsie Hall launched ViralMoment in August 2020, uniting her passions for entrepreneurship and storytelling.

"Sharing stories is how we function as a society, and those narratives drive our perspectives. I've always wanted to understand that influence – both on an individual and a societal level," Hall said. "One of the reasons I applied to the Master of Integrated Innovation for Products & Services degree program is because it centers the user's experience in the narrative."

Hall launched her first startup while enrolled in MIIPS, but it proved too challenging to scale. That experience, however, introduced her to Carnegie Mellon University's startup incubator, Project Olympus.

Founded in 2007, Project Olympus helps students, alumni, and faculty assess the commercial viability of their business ideas.

Hall submitted ViralMoment and received guidance on customer discovery, which equated to 100 interviews with potential users.

“Project Olympus provided me with the initial tools that I needed to get my business off the ground. I wouldn’t have been able to understand what I was building so quickly without talking to so many people about the problems that needed to be solved in this space. This process was an excellent push to use the design thinking process and user empathy skills that I learned during my time at MIIPS,” Hall said.

ViralMoment initially only read sentiment and meaning for memes and images, which was still more advanced than competitors’ text-only analysis. The AI for its video analytics was still being developed.

It was at this critical juncture that mutual friends introduced Hall to Sheyda Demooei, now CTO. Demooei is a 2016 graduate from the College of Engineering, having earned two master’s degrees, one in Electrical and Computer Engineering and another in Engineering and Technology Innovation.

“Working with Sheyda has been one of the best parts of starting this company,” Hall said. “It is so fun to dream up an idea and have her build it the next week. We're a dynamite team.”

The team qualified for the Swartz Center’s 2021 VentureBridge program, which provides funding and mentorship to alumni startups. Hall described it as a "game changing" experience that positioned ViralMoment for the next step – joining startup accelerator TechStars Los Angeles.

“TechStars LA got us even more exposure to customers, which quickly matured our business. Talking to users took a lot of time and energy since our users are quite sophisticated. Between the TechStars and CMU networks, we have great access to people at any organization we could dream of working with,” Hall said.

ViralMoment launched its “Go Viral” App in fall 2021, welcoming 1000+ beta users into its community.

“Social media is the new town hall, and with our ability to understand patterns and trends in social at a high level, we're able to have immense foresight about unfolding trends,” Hall said.

Its application extends beyond making virality daydreams come true though. ViralMoment can also detect harmful trends like hate speech.

Hall pitched this use-case during the Eradicate Hate Global Summit in October 2021, winning first place and $50,000. She has presented the technology to the CIA, FBI, and Department of Defense.

“One of our hardest business problems has been to focus our product development since our technology has so many applications.”

The company is piloting its software with two major streaming services as well as working with a financial institution on fraud detection.

Given the invaluable insights that its technology unlocks, it won’t be too long before ViralMoment goes viral itself.

Watch ViralMoment's pitch at the Eradicate Hate Global Summit:

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