Alex's Tech Thoughts

I’m Starting A Company And Here Is How It Went Down

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This past Friday was my last day at Dwolla. The past two years have been nothing short of amazing but it was time to start on my own journey. Well actually not on my own. Michael Schonfeld, better known as @baconseason and I are starting our own company as of today.

Michael and I met back in May 2011 on Ohours. Michael was living in LA and doing freelance development. I was working at Aviary but thinking about fun side projects to work on. I convinced Michael to leave LA and move to NYC. He got a job at Nerve Dating and we started to collaborate on a little project focused on online debating. We built the app and had a few investment offers to run it full-time, but decided to decline them as it wasn’t something we were ready to work on for the next 5 years. At the same time I had been introduced to Ben Milne, the founder of Dwolla. Ben mentioned that Dwolla was also looking for a developer evangelist and next thing we knew Michael and I had both joined Dwolla to open its New York office and run the API platform (the business side by me and technology side by Michael).

Fast-forward 22 months and it is time for us to set sail.

So what will we be working on?

That’s a great question. Before answering, here’s a story: While Michael and I were thinking of side projects together in 2011 and 2012 we built an app called MVF, which stood for Most Valuable Follower. The premise of MVF was to find out who, out of all your followers on Twitter, was your most valuable. Michael and I put together a formula, built the hack, and put it out there a few days later. Within a week we had over 50k people and brands trying the application. We had everyone from the tech crew usuals to the band The Smashing Pumpkins and former NBA player Jamal “Monster Mash” Mashburn trying out the tool. It was fun. But we both had full-time jobs and eventually needed to shut it off because it was taking up too much time. Even though we shut MVF off, every few months we’ve had a brand reach out to us asking if we could turn it back on to find out more about the people who follow them.

The first thing we will be doing at Newco is spinning back up MVF and layering some good stuff on top of it. Things that people and brands might find interesting about those who follow them (If there is something you are especially interested in, as a person or brand, please email me at alex@modernmast.com).

The reason we are bringing MVF back is that it is very much connected to the business Michael and I are building. It’s still too early to jump deep into that (not stealth, but not fully baked), but we can say it has to do with social media, commerce, next-gen advertising tools, and something we know very well: APIs.

We’re very excited about this opportunity to build a business and will have more to share within the next month (we work fast). Oh, and the name of our company (not the product we will be launching) is Modern MAST (MAST = Michael, Alex, Schonfeld, Taub).

Check out our website: ModernMast.com

Follow us on Twitter: @ModernMastCo

Here is our logo, just built over the weekend:

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Modern Mast Michael Schonfeld Dwolla Next Steps
  1. mytangent said: Onward and Upward, Alex!
  2. alexstechthoughts posted this