Marshall V. King | November 24, 2017
As seniors at the University of Notre Dame, Evan Wray and Sean O’Brien were talking in their room at Dillon Hall about how cool it would be to create something that would allow fans to express their emotions as they were texting.
Their business plan didn’t even make the semifinals of the McCloskey Business Plan Competition during that 2011-12 school year, but it helped birth Swyft Media Inc.
After Swyft Media Inc. brought together brands with emojis, the small symbols people use in their messages to each other, the company became successful quickly. In the tech sector, it doesn’t take long for innovations to take hold. Swyft Media now connects 300 brands to 2.5 billion users.
“Swyft is a large ad network for brands to reach and inject themselves in conversations with users in a way that’s fun and value-add rather than intrusive,” he said.
That success allowed O’Brien and Wray to sell their company to Monotype Image Holdings for $27 million in 2015, according to TechCrunch. Wray was 25 when he sold the company. They are still with the company after renegotiating the deal to assure the potential earnouts, he said.
He was back on campus this weekend to share about his successes and failures with students, alums and members of the community at an Innovation Rally on Friday, an event geared to those in the entrepreneurship sector.