Innovation That Matters

Wise Words with Çiler Ay Tek, who wants to end trolling on social media

Work & Lifestyle

We talk to the co-founder of Smart Moderation, an artificial intelligence platform bringing automated comment moderation to Facebook and Instagram.

Social Media has long been an essential channel for brands to promote their image, but its “open comment” model gives spammers and trolls free-reign to post whatever they want. Not only can this be damaging to a company’s image, but it is also labour-intensive and inefficient to sift through masses of data manually.

After years of working as a marketing consultant and brand manager, Çiler Ay Tek co-founded Smart Moderation, an SaaS platform that uses artificial intelligence to monitor webpages for abusive comments. The software understands natural language, processing the meaning of sentences, instead of just flagging for keywords. The AI also learns and reviews like a human, and Smart Moderation’s dashboards enables users to integrate multiple social channels for review. We talk to Çiler to find out more about her startup journey.

1. Where did the idea for your business come from?

Social Media is booming! People upload billions of content every moment across many social networks. Customers are waiting for responses, both the good ones to promote, and tbe bad ones to mitigate, and spammers can create social media crises. Protecting brand reputation on social media is becoming more important and more difficult day by day.

Smart Moderation is the world’s first social media comment moderation, which auto-hides inappropriate comments via an artificial intelligence solution. Every brand and person would like to protect their online reputation, but this can be time consuming and expensive, so that’s why we launched Smart Moderation.

2. Can you describe a typical working day?

I get up around 7:00, I go out for an hour walk every day for a fresh start. After driving my daughter to school, I start my working day. As a CMO I spend most of my time building brand recognition, which is Smart Moderation’s business priority now. I also spend significant time on social networks to keep updated. I also reach out to social media influencers, journalists, customers and investors and I plan events that we are going to attend as visitors, sponsors or speakers.

At 18:00 I take my little girl from school and spend some time with her. Around 19:00 we cook together and have dinner with my husband. We talk about our days. I try to have dinner with my friends once a week. After my daughter goes to bed, I work some more from home – If I need to do some creative work like writing something, blogging, creating strategy etc, I usually prefer nights to work. I am not a morning person in that case! If I’m too tired, I usually watch a movie.

3. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on your business?

I play the cello! This is difficult and challenging, but also relaxing if you can play! I take classes for cello and really spend serious effort on it. And I always end a working day with reading a book or watching a movie.

4. What’s the most important characteristic of being an entrepreneur?

I think open-mindedness is very important because things might not go as expected. You’ll need to learn and adjust when it appears that your plan won’t work. Sometimes you may need to change your focus, which really requires a person to have strong flexibility.

5. What drove you crazy when building your business?

I believe personal integrity is very important. I want to see people in action, achieving their vision and mission. If people don’t show this integrity and if they are not honest, that could drive me crazy!

6. What motivates you to keep going? What do you do when you hit a block?

I am in pursuit of my dreams. I believe strongly in Smart Moderation and I always push to the limits to be successful when I hit the block. I persist and it usually works!

7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

We’d focus and launch earlier. We started to work on Smart Moderation three years ago, and we had difficulty focusing on it because of other business obligations going on in our lives.

8. Do you have any habits or routines, which help you in your working life?

I always have written personal to-do and team follow-up lists. I never miss anything.

9. What book are you reading, or writing now?

I am reading The Prince — a 16th-century political treatise by the Italian diplomat Niccolò Machiavelli.

10. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?

I believe that Smart Moderation will be acquired either by Facebook or some of the other big monitoring platforms. We will keep working to develop new features, increase the accuracy, and collaborate with alternative sales channels in addition to our SaaS business.

11. If you weren’t working on your business, what would you be doing?

I would love to own a beach bar in a tropical island! I am a true Mediterranean.

12. Tell Springwise a secret…

I am writing a blog and nobody knows — it is just for myself!

13. How did you get your initial round of funding to get your company off the ground?

We have already been funded once, and are about to get the second round.

14. How do you feel about your journey ahead and do you have any wise words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Working on Smart Moderation has been an awesome experience for me. My life motto is this: “Never worry that your life is turning upside down, because you never know if the side to come is better than the one you are used to.”