Factal is a breaking news technology company that helps the world's largest organizations protect people, avoid disruptions and expedite disaster relief when global events put them at immediate risk.
Founded in 2018, Factal is the only company that combines instant social media discovery with trusted verification in a single platform. From outbreaks and active shootings to wildfires and severe weather, Factal blends AI technology with a 24/7 newsroom of experienced journalists to enable global organizations to see precisely where and how they're at risk in real time. Learn how Factal works.
Factal is trusted by many of the world's largest companies, technology platforms, newsrooms and NGOs for security, business continuity, crisis communications, disaster response and content verification. We provide our service for free for humanitarian aid NGOs and fact checkers. See our solutions and integration partners.
Based in Seattle with a London office, Factal was created by the founders of BreakingNews.com at NBC News. Scroll down to learn about our mission, team and investors. Interesting in learning more? We'd love to hear from you.
Factal is a news organization founded on a public service mission to protect people from imminent harm and help those in immediate need. We work hard to earn your trust through high standards in our code of ethics.
Most startup stories begin with an idea. Factal's story begins with another organization called Breaking News.
Charlie Tillinghast, co-founder and CEO
Charlie was the President & CEO of MSNBC Interactive, LLC. where he chartered the formation of Breaking News as an internal startup under a separate brand. During Charlie’s 13-year tenure, msnbc.com was consistently the #1 news site, as measured by unique users. Following Microsoft’s 2012 divesture of its stake in the MSNBC joint venture, Charlie served as CEO of a video content security company in England; and later as CEO of Seattle-based Mixpo, Inc., a digital advertising platform that was acquired by Netsertive. Charlie is the 2015 recipient of Geekwire’s Hire of the Year award. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Brown University.
Ben Tesch, co-founder and VP of technology
Ben was the co-founder, technical director and creative director of Breaking News, leading the technology and design teams. Earlier at NBC News, he was the manager of the Labs Group, an R&D group of developers and designers tasked with conceptualizing new products and businesses. Prior to NBC, Ben led the design and front-end development of Minnesota Public Radio and its network of websites for stations and programs, which won multiple Edward R. Murrow awards during his tenure. He also led the initial design and front-end development of American Public Media and its network of programs websites, one of which received a George Foster Peabody Award.
Cory Bergman, co-founder and VP of product
Cory was the co-founder and general manager of Breaking News. Earlier at MSNBC Interactive (msnbc.com), he worked as the director of new product development, identifying and fostering innovative product efforts. Prior to msnbc.com, Cory led the digital team at KING TV in Seattle, winning the highest national awards for a local TV site. Separately, he co-founded and built hyperlocal site MyBallard.com, which won a national Online Journalism Award; and Lost Remote, a popular media blog acquired by AdWeek. Prior to his work in digital, Cory covered breaking news for NBC News as an assignment editor and field producer. He has an MBA from the University of the Pacific.
Tyler Adams, head of marketing
Tyler is an experienced B2B marketer and public relations practitioner. He began his career in community management for Newsvine. Later, he served as Director of Community for NBC News Digital's family of websites. He's an alumnus of Goucher College - but graduating from Garfield High School comes up a lot more in Seattle.
Amanda Aldrich, developer
Amanda is a developer based in rural Idaho. After graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in Computer Science, she worked as an AI specialist and, more recently, as a full stack developer, before joining Factal. When not at her laptop, you can find Amanda out snapping photographs or working with the animals on her small farm.
Rebecca Bratek, senior editor
Rebecca was most recently a producer on CBS News’ social team, where she managed the network’s flagship accounts, produced videos and wrote on a variety of topics. Prior to that, she was an editor for Breaking News, where she focused on politics and helped plan coverage of the 2016 election. She has an MA from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York and a BA in English from the University at Buffalo.
Zira Cook, developer
Zira is a software developer and native Seattleite. She holds a degree in Computer Science from the University of Washington, and worked as a game developer before joining Factal. Her interests include backpacking, mechanical keyboards, and video game collecting.
Jessica Fino, editor
Jessica is a journalist who has worked for financial newswires and trade publications in the financial and educational sectors for the past five years. More recently, she was a reporter at Press Association's local data unit, covering health and government policy stories. She graduated from London Metropolitan University in 2011 after moving from Portugal, where she is from originally.
Brian Gass, sales development manager
Brian has a diverse background in designing and implementing successful sales campaigns for IT infrastructure, web design, and commercial real estate firms. Prior to launching his career in sales, Brian was a cook at a Michelin star restaurant in Manhattan and a long distance hiker, completing the 2600 mile Pacific Crest Trail. He earned a dual BSBA from Sierra Nevada University in finance & entrepreneurship. When not cooking or exploring the Cascades, he volunteers with 501 Common's Executive Service Corps.
Imana Gunawan, editor
Imana is a Texas-born Indonesian multimedia journalist and dance artist. She was most recently a manager at Dataminr, where she led nightly coverage of Asia-Pacific news and regularly oversaw global coverage. Prior, she was an editor at Breaking News and producer for Humanosphere reporting on the humanitarian aid and development sectors. Her works have been published by NBC News, The Jordan Times, ColorBloc Magazine, and more. In her art, she creates surreal dance-based worlds that center stories of marginalized peoples, their ancestry, and their futures. She has performed and choreographed dance works across the US and internationally in Indonesia, Italy, and Jordan.
Emily Hart, developer
After graduating with a degree in computer science and English, Emily spent much of her career as a software engineer at IDG, the company behind technology magazines such as Computerworld and Macworld. She has also worked in government contracting, where she developed APIs for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and publishing.
Mandy Jenkins, head of product
Mandy was previously the general manager of The Compass Experiment, where she guided the founding of Mahoning Matters, in Youngstown, Ohio and The Longmont Leader in Longmont, Colorado. She has served in newsroom leadership roles at Storyful and Digital First Media’s Project Thunderdome and led digital and social journalism projects within The Huffington Post, TBD.com, The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Mandy is on the Board of Directors for the News Leaders Association and is former board president of the Online News Association. She holds degrees in journalism from Kent State University, and completed a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Carolyn Kahler, member success manager
Carolyn is a Member Success expert from Orange County, CA. Prior to joining Factal, Carolyn worked for ten years at Bloomberg as a Client Service Partner specializing in legal technology for AMLAW 100 firms and Fortune 500 companies. Carolyn is a licensed and formerly practicing attorney. She earned her J.D. at UIC John Marshall Law School.
Bada Kim, managing editor
Most recently an editor at Agence France-Presse’s Asia hub in Hong Kong, Bada developed and launched the agency’s first Korean-language platform focusing on misinformation. Before this, she led Dataminr’s Asia desk in London, specialising in breaking news, and held roles at the Associated Press’ live video desk and South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency and Korean Broadcasting System, covering North Korea news.
Jeff Landset, editor
Jeff is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who has worked as a television news producer at stations in Massachusetts, Las Vegas and Seattle. He produced the coverage of a deadly Amtrak derailment that won a 2018 Murrow Award for best Newscast in the Pacific Northwest region. He has a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University.
Corwin Light-Williams, developer
Corwin is a developer in Seattle, Washington. He has worked on everything from video games to biochemistry software, as well as the original Breaking News. His favorite drink is an Arnold Palmer.
Jimmy Lovaas, senior editor
Jimmy was most recently a manager at Dataminr, where he oversaw a team of domestic news domain experts and regularly supervised global coverage. Prior to that, he was an editor at Breaking News and a freelance reporter for Reuters, McClatchy, and The Seattle Times covering state and local politics, music events and crime. He’s covered virtually every type of major breaking news story. Jimmy came to journalism after graduating from the University of Washington with a BA in Journalism following more than 20 years of jobs ranging from flight attendant to retail manager. He loves cats.
Alex Moore, editor
Alex was most recently a part of the Domain Experts team at Dataminr where he oversaw coverage of breaking news from regions ranging from Eastern Europe to Latin America. Prior to moving to Seattle, he worked in the policy world in Washington, D.C., studying arms control and non-proliferation. He holds a master's degree in International Conflict and Security from the Brussels School of International Studies.
Ryan Nagle, senior developer
Ryan builds software to help others better understand and get along with the world around them. Before joining Factal, he spent time in the federal healthcare space, contributing to a variety of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projects, including HealthCare.gov. Going farther back, Ryan's also worked at several news organizations, including Breaking News.
Ahmed Namatalla, editor
Ahmed is a reporter and editor who relocated to the US in 2017 after spending more than 13 years in the Middle East, based in Cairo and Dubai. He was a member of the Bloomberg News team that covered the Arab Spring and its aftermath across the region, writing extensively about economic crises that broke out in North Africa and the rising political and economic influence of Persian Gulf countries. He is fluent in Arabic and a graduate of Washington State University.
Ryan Ockuly, director of sales
Ryan is a sales executive with startup, growth and management experience in security, unified communication, life safety and emergency communication. Ryan has designed, sold and managed successful delivery of technology solutions and service at the enterprise level for Fortune 1000, healthcare, education and government organizations. Prior to joining Factal, Ryan worked nine years at Alertus Technologies where he was an integral part of growth in sales, product development, partnerships and OEM channel relationships.
Sophie Perryer, senior editor
Sophie has written for the Press Association, the Independent, the Sunday Times and Condé Nast, covering global politics, economics, technology and travel. She completed her journalism training with the Press Association following her graduation from King's College London. Sophie speaks fluent French and previously lived in Paris.
Emmanuel Robi, developer
Emmanuel is a mobile app developer from Seattle, Washington. He graduated from the University of Washington in 2019. After graduating he worked as Geographic Information System Developer and Analyst at Apple, alongside building mobile applications for himself and other startups. He enjoys running, playing basketball and traveling.
Jacob Quinn Sanders, developer
A versatile reporter and editor for more than a decade before becoming a software developer, Jacob is intimately familiar with covering, supervising and building technology around breaking news events. He began covering law-enforcement on both coasts and in the South before reimagining crucial real-time workflows and content strategies at Western Pennsylvania's largest news operation. After a jump into tech, he wrote software relied on during statewide emergencies.
Dana Scheibe, sales development manager
After working in education administration, Dana transitioned into sales running the remarketing division of a house painting business in Denver. She has a specialized degree in Early Childhood Education as well as a degree in Art and Design from Columbia College Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys running and cycling. In 2021, she completed her first bicycle tour cycling from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River.
Jillian Stampher, head of news
Jillian is a journalist with a focus on news editing and mobile platforms. Most recently at HuffPost, she worked as a front page editor, assigning and editing evening news coverage, often as the only editor on the site. While there, Jillian helped redevelop HuffPost’s editorial mobile initiatives, tracking alert analytics and coordinating the launch of push categories. Prior to HuffPost, Jillian was an editor at Breaking News, where she covered major stories from the aftermath of the Boston bombing to the Nice terrorist attack while also growing Breaking News’ social platforms.
Rea-Lynne Starbird, member success manager
Rea-Lynne is a Member Success expert from Orlando, Florida. She graduated from the University of Florida. She worked at Chick-Fil-A throughout her time in school, and became passionate for providing meaningful customer experiences. She worked as a social media manager and photographer, learning to create unique content that fosters relationships and loyalty with customers. Most recently, she was the customer success manager for POS Nation.
Brian Stoots, developer
A long-time software developer striving to create elegant software platforms that allow humans to get things done. Before joining Factal he was involved in a diverse set of projects ranging from Public Health to Robotics. Hailing from the City of Bridges, Brian enjoys craft brewing, motorbikes, and telling stories with friends.
Sean Traber, developer
Sean is a software developer with a focus on mobile applications. He grew up in the greater San Francisco Bay Area and earned a degree in Computer Science from San Jose State University. Since graduating he has worked for a number of startups helping build apps ranging from identity theft protection to international social chat applications. He also worked on the Point of Sale app used by sales associates in Apple stores around the world.
Joe Veyera, editor
Joe was the editor of the Queen Anne & Magnolia News, managing the news operation of a hyperlocal weekly paper in Seattle. During his tenure, the paper won the Small Business Award from the Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce. Before becoming editor, he briefly served as staff reporter for the full chain of neighborhood papers operated by Pacific Publishing. He graduated from the journalism program at the University of Washington, and served as editor of the campus newspaper, The Daily.
Irene Villora, editor
Irene is a multi-lingual journalist based in London who has worked for Agencia EFE and for Thomson Reuters as a visuals breaking news editor. She worked in Colombia between 2016 and 2019, where she specialised in the coverage of Latin American news and conflict in the region. More recently she worked in Poland for one year. She previously worked as a lifestyle, gastronomy and culture writer in Spain, where she's from. She graduated from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid on a full scholarship.
Vivian Wang, editor
Before joining Factal, Vivian led news coverage of the Asia-Pacific as part of the Domain Expert team at Dataminr. Her area of expertise is East Asia, and she is proficient in Japanese, Mandarin, and Cantonese. She has a BS in International Relations from Carnegie Mellon University. She grew up in Southern California and is now based in Seattle.
David Wyllie, editorial development manager
Most recently a senior journalist for BBC News, David was one of the first employees of Breaking News and a London-based editor for six years. While at Breaking News at NBC News, he was on the Emmy-winning team covering the downing of MH17. David also served as notifications editor for Sky News.
Stephanie Clary is the deputy editor at New York Public Radio / WNYC. She has previously held leadership roles at VICE, CNN, MIC and Breaking News. Stephanie shares a Pulitzer Prize with The Seattle Times staff for the 2010 breaking news coverage of the 2009 Lakewood police shooting. She also shares the 2016 Gannett Foundation Award for Technical Innovation with the Breaking News staff and a SPJ Northwest Excellence in Journalism award for her coverage of the 2010 winter Olympics. For her work at CNN, she shares 2019 Edward R. Murrow, Webby and Shorty awards with her team.
Mike Davidson is vice president of Partnerships & Community at InVision. Before joining InVision, he spent three years building the Design & Research org at Twitter. Mike has also worked in design leadership roles at NBCNews, ESPN, Disney, as well as founding his own company, Newsvine, which was eventually acquired by MSNBC. Mike earned a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Washington and studied Creative Advertising and Management at the University of Oxford.
Steve Dowling is vice president of Communications at OpenAI in San Francisco. He began his career as a broadcast journalist, covering Washington, D.C. for CNBC and establishing the network's Silicon Valley bureau. He later served as vice president of Communications at Apple.
Hanson Hosein is the co-founder of the Communication Leadership graduate program at the University of Washington and the President of HRH Media Group LLC, a media production and communications strategy firm. He's an award-winning documentary filmmaker and former broadcast journalist, earning an Emmy while working with NBC News in overseas conflict zones. Hanson hosts the UW's "Co-Existing with COVID-19" Public Lectures series, and leads conversations on misinformation in partnership with the UW Center for an Informed Public. He’s presently intent on recalibrating the power dynamic between people and technology as Co-Principal of MIRA! — Mobilize Innovation, Reimagine Agency — a community-first approach to learning and innovation.
This Startup Wants To Sell Verified Breaking News Alerts To Companies
BuzzFeed (August 2018)
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