People in today’s world have been inundated with social networks. Many people want to be a part of as many social networks as they can because they don’t want to miss anything from anyone important to them. This is a daunting task though when you consider managing just the most popular social networks on a day to day basis.
Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Instagram can be a pain in the butt to manage. When you’re on your smartphone it’s a constant, battery draining, switch from network to network.
That’s why many startups have taken to creating social network aggregation tools. Spottlife is one of those tools with a different twist.
Using the Spottlife mobile app users can aggregate all of their social content into one app. They can also use the app to post to all or one social network at a time. These features certainly aren’t new, we’ve been using tools like Hootsuite for that part, for a long while. Where Spottlife differs in it’s clean and fairly intuitive UI. It also provides you with aggregated updates of not just your variety of social networks but based on what’s trending and popular with your friends.
For instance today the most popular topics are probably the Inauguration, the Super Bowl and Martin Luther King day. Spottlife with show you the most popular topics and a number indicating how many of your friends are talking about this topic. Users also have the ability to filter out certain topics that might not pertain to them.
Brandon Mihai and Scott Gammenthaler are the cofounders of the Chattanooga startup. Mihai tells us in an interview that he has put his studies on hold from Southern Adventist University in Chattanooga, to focus on Spottlife. Gammenthaler is pulling double duty, serving as the CEO of Spottlife and preparing for college graduation in the spring. The startup is incubating at co.lab in Chattanooga.
Check out our interview with Mihai below.
Spottlife is a social networking aggregation tool, but we take a very unique approach in the way we present the streams. Spottlife currently combines Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+. We analyze all the tweets, statuses, photos, and has tags, and organize these things into different categories by topic. For instance, “18 of your friends SPOTTED something about AUTOMOTIVE” In it you can see everything from all your sites regarding that topic. At the same time, we make it extremely easy for you to skip over different posts regarding a topic you don’t like. Alongside our unique way of presenting the feeds, we also provide the core functions of social networking: Posting a status to all or just one of your networks, commenting, liking, and retweeting.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds
Brandon Mihai, COO, and Scott Gammenthaler, CEO. We are both International Business majors at Southern Adventist University in Chattanooga, TN. Brandon is currently pausing school to focus primarily on Spottlife, and Scott is graduating in May. We both have a passion for entrepreneurship, and one day we decided to challenge ourselves and start a business. Needless to say, here we are approx. a year later with an awesome product!
Where are you based?
What is the startup culture like where you are based?
The startup culture in Chattanooga is fantastic. We are surrounded with many peers that share the same passion and drive to start small businesses and create life changing products. We are currently part of the incubator program called Co.Lab in downtown Chatt. which allows us to work directly with mentors and build relationships with important people throughout our city. We also work next to other startups which is makes it easy to share ideas and give each other advice.
What problem does your startup solve?
We aim at Simplifying your Social Life. More and more people today are managing several social networks, and you hunt through the different feeds wasting time trying to find something your actually interested in. Not only does spottlife allow you to access all your networks in one place, but it also helps you find out what your friends or the people your following are saying about your interests. We help put the spotlight back on the users life by helping them easily find what they want to see among their feeds.
What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?
We have had a hard time finding technical people and developers here in Chattanooga. Luckily we have built a team that is off-site that is passionate about Spottlife and is as much involved as someone who we can see face-to-face everyday.
What are some of the milestones your startup has achieved?
We have successfully built a working product and have been approved in the App Store on our first try. We have also raised $100k which has paid for developing and creating Spottlife. One of our biggest achievements was getting accepted into Accelerator program at Co.Lab. This has helped us build our business much faster than if we were on our own.
What are your next milestones
Adding some exciting features. Adding Pinterest, Myspace, and Tumblr to the Social network lineup, and completing our first seed round within the next 2 months.
Who are your mentors and role models?
Sheldon Grizzle from Co.Lab, Charlie Brock from Co.Lab and the Chatt. Renaissance Fund, Michael Bradshaw from Co.Lab, the ReTickr/Fireplug team, and Michael Burcham from the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.
What are some of the advantages/disadvantages growing your startup outside of Silicon Valley.
One of the main advantages is that our startup community is very closely knit together. We meet new people everyday that are excited about startups and are happy to help out. Another main advantage is that the costs to run a business are lower than they are in California.
One of the main disadvantages is that there isn’t as much money flowing around for startups. It’s harder to get an investor to commit a few hundred thousand than it is in Silicon Valley.
What’s next for your startup?
Raising the next round of funding, and continuing to add amazing features that will will add to the Spottlife Experience.
Where can people find out more about Spottlife?
See startups from around the country and around the world in Tennessee at the biggest startup conference in the U.S. details here.