For Brian Freeman, CEO and founder of Heartbeat, what started as childhood curiosity has bloomed into a tech company that powers one of the largest nano-influencer marketplaces on the planet. As the leader of “team builders, innovators, and Instagram junkies,” he is responsible for all senior hiring, investor relationships, fundraising, and works closely with all the department leads to set the company strategy. He also has a passion for product, and works with the product and engineering organizations to maintain the company’s competitive offering.
A serial entrepreneur, Brian has always had an inquisitive mind with a sincere desire to improve people’s lives and the vision to see what people need—before they even realize it. “I’ve always been able to see down the road at least one or two years in upcoming trends. As a kid, I was always building stuff and putting it back together,” Brian shares. “As I got older, I became fascinated with emerging tech and social trends, how these trends were effecting the world around us and people’s lives, and I have a natural passion for inventing products or services that mirror those current or upcoming phenomena.” His hard work, resilience, and grit paid off with a thriving company that has developed platforms now regularly used by high-end brands such as Dunkin, Thrive, and two of the largest companies on the planet which Heartbeat is under NDA for.
The idea for Heartbeat grew from a previous venture, Wyldfire, the first female-focused dating app designed to deliver a better experience for women in mobile dating, which he launched in 2013, after he and some friends recognized there was a gap in the market. “We saw two things. First, that dating apps were designed primarily for men. Second, women wanted a dating platform that made them feel safe,” Brian explains. To create a platform that would address these gaps, they went straight to the source—women. As they visited colleges and sororities, word spread about the app, and Wyldfire grew quickly.
Although Bumble squeezed out the smaller Wyldfire just two years later, Brian realized how valuable consumers who endorsed a brand and spread the word via social media could be to companies—four years before the idea of “nano-influencers” entered the scene. With this in mind, he began analyzing different systems to scale out the idea of college students to spread information and advertisements via personal social media accounts, and saw that there was a market for companies who wanted real people to endorse their brand.
“There are two sides to our marketplace: the consumer side and the brand experience side. I saw this back in 2015,” Brian explains. “Four years later, micro & nano influencers are part of most consumer-facing brand budgets—something we always suspected would happen.” In 2016, Brian fully committed to Heartbeat and brought on a co-founder to help scale the business. Together, they started building out tech to scale their product and make it highly efficient.
Brian launched Heartbeat with the mission “to create a world where every voice has value.” They have done just that—and with stunning success. He’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Insider, and Inc. among others, and he's written articles for Forbes, MarketWatch, and more. Still, Brian’s visionary spirit and inquisitive mind continue to look forward. “We’re learning, growing, and getting better every day,” he says.
CEO, Founder — Heartbeat
1507 7th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
LinkedIn: Brian Freeman, Heartbeat