DURHAM – Austin Armstrong, the Co-Founder and CEO of Syllaby, has about 3 million followers on social media. Which is how he bootstrapped his new company across the $1M annual recurring revenue (ARR) threshold in just over six months.
“We officially launched January 25,” Armstrong told TechWire in an exclusive interview. “We’re at $88,000 MRR [monthly recurring revenue], and we passed the 1 million ARR mark at six months and 15 days, entirely organic.”
Armstrong says he fueled the bootstrap-style growth—which now includes a team of 20 employees—with his following on social.
“It was a gamble,” said Armstrong. “A lot of startups, they go to VCs, pitch the idea, and get the money to build the idea. Or they invest what they can to bootstrap it, and then they bring on funding to try and market the tool. We just figured out how to market it before we even built it.”
Armstrong is known as Socialty Pro on YouTube and @socialtypro on TikTok—and across those two video platforms alone, he has almost 1.5 million subscribers. He’s also active on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and Facebook.
Many of his videos about marketing have thousands of views; some have millions. Like the YouTube short, “Top 5 Websites Most Useful Websites,” which currently has over 20M views on YouTube.
“We built up the audience first, and really assessed the need for the tool,” said Armstrong. “So it’s been fun, and it seemed to work so far.”
Digital agency services—at 1/100th of the cost
The “tool,” Syllaby, is an app that helps users post content on social media—by using AI tools to help users focus on content that their potential customers are searching for.
“A problem that business owners face is, they know they need to create content on social media to get the word out, but they don’t know what topics to create. They don’t know what to say in their videos so they’ll perform well,” said Armstrong. “And they don’t have the money or the funds to hire an agency, or hire an internal staff, and sometimes they don’t like being on camera as well. And so we’ve streamlined all of those processes based on years of repeatable processes.”
Armstrong is CEO of a digital marketing agency, also called Socialty Pro, and has helped hundreds of businesses market on social media—but Syllaby is meant to replace agencies like his.
“We’ve strategically priced at 1/100th of the cost of what our agency costs,” said Armstrong. “So it’s very it’s a very affordable tool to get your up and running.”
Content ideation and digital twins—powered by AI
Syllaby helps users post more content—by sharing ideas for content based on search trends, generating scripts, and even offering “deep fake” digital twins.
“If you don’t feel comfortable on camera, we have these digital twins—deep fakes, but that that term has a negative connotation now, so we’re kind of dubbing ‘digital twins’ as a spokesperson for your brand.”
Syllaby users can create a digital twin of their likeness. Armstrong says he has four of his own.
“It’s pretty fascinating technology,” he said.
Working on a $2M round
In the future, the team plans to expand the project management aspects of social media—enabling things like direct social media scheduling—and supporting content creation with a video editor in app, Armstrong told me.
And to reach these goals, he’s now seeking funding.
“We were entirely bootstrapped up until two Mondays ago, when Primordial signed on with us,” said Armstrong. “We’ve had a lot of traction.”
Primordial is the Durham-based VC that invests in “very early-stage Triangle-area software startups,” according to their website. The group is part of Colopy Ventures, Joe Colopy’s tech-focused family office, and is the sister organization to GrepBeat and Jurassic Capital.
Armstrong told me that, in all, Syllaby is seeking $2M for this round.
“We’re, hopefully, over the next couple of weeks, going to get real close to that, with finalizing some partners, and then just investing that money into continuous growth” said Armstrong. “Hiring key staff, aggressive marketing, which is what has gotten us so far in the first place, and a little bit of R&D.”
Learn more about Syllaby at syllaby.io.