What exactly is the deal with all of these group text messaging apps? In the Founder Stories video above, GroupMe founders Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci tell host Chris Dixon why they think group texting coud be the thin edge of the wedge to something bigger. Call it private social networks. Small groups can do and say things that larger groups can’t.
When Martocci first heard the idea for GroupMe, he wasn’t that into it, but he quickly saw where it could lead to. He thinks it is about helping people make plans and decisions. “We want to be a pocket companion,” he says.
In the interview, the two also recall how they approached the Hackathon at TechCrunch Disrupt last year, where the product was conceived and the first prototype was built. The plan was to claw their way onto the main stage, blow away the judges, and get funded on the spot. It didn’t happen quite that way, but almost. The company raised $850,000 later that summer from Ron Conway, betaworks, First Round, and Lerer Ventures, and then $10.6 million earlier this year.
Speaking of Ron Conway, everyone gushes over how great he is to have as investor in the video below. He doesn’t get in the way, he just makes things happen. In terms of investors, Martocci advises other New York City startups to “make sure you get someone from the West Coast.” Dixon concurs: “It shouldn’t be New York Versus California. It should be New York [startups] versus Wall Street.” (Disclosure: Dixon is an investor in GroupMe through the Founder Collective).