Waterloo Trio Set to Launch Instagram-Like Social Community for Startups

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Waterloo-based UI/UX designer Kevin Kim said that every time he checked out sources of information on other startups in his community- like Crunchbase, F6S and Gust- all he found was fluff, or what he calls the “tip of the iceberg”. It was simply words and numbers, an idea of what their idea is about and how much money they raised from whatever venture cap firm.

So, he decided to start up TeamStory, a new mobile, picture-based community about startups.

“No one’s really taking a focus on whats on the other side: the good, the ugly, the bad, the stories, the moments, the people and the culture that you have in your startup,” said Kim. “Even though you’re still small I think its very valuable to share your story from the beginning and build a culture from the get-go.”

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I asked whether it was more based on a desire for more information about other startups, like a crunchbase but with pictures. Rather, explained Kim, it’s meant to be a motivational, inspirational community for people to see what other startups are doing, and in a way, learn their stories. Kim said it’s about snapshots that define your startup: photo’s of the office, a trip out, showcasing individual team members, whatever. Users can comment and encourage other startups looking for feedback.

“It’s basically a place to go while on your entrepreneurial journey, when you’re feeling lonely, when you need some inspiration and when you want to find out some stuff about startups in the area,” he said.

Currently TeamStory is in closed beta, and in about a month the iOS app is slated to invite testers for open beta. About a month after that, Ki anticipates a closed beta phase for the Android app. He’s been working in startups for about four years and currently works at a Toronto-based company. TeamStory cofounders Tobok Lee, 23, and Freddy Hidalgo-Monchez, 25, also work for tech startups in Waterloo and Montreal.

Kim indicated that initially monetization isn’t the biggest concern, but it looks like they’re aiming at bringing businesses on to offer perks in the ‘perk store’. There startups who have profiles on TeamStory (250 thus far) can collect “Activity Points” to redeem discounts on startup products, like coffee, dropbox, amazon perks and more. About 10 businesses have shown interest in partnering up, but it might be a while before this turns into something viable. Kim also said that charging for event advertising, but that won’t be decided for a while.

“First, our main focus is how will the users use it, do they use it a lot and how can we make it better for the users?”

In a Medium post, Kim recently explained how he asked for feedback about the TeamStory idea. Some said that “startups and entrepreneurs have no time for this”, to which he wittily answered, “I truly think that this is an excuse…If you’re reading TechCrunch articles on successful startups, you have time.”

Others expressed concern about trying to stealthily build their startup and keep their idea away from prying eyes. But that too, wrote Kim, is not the right attitude to have. “There is a value in sharing stories — the good, the bad and the ugly,” he wrote. “Because likely other people are going through the same stuff. Why not connect.”

If startups are interested in TeamStory’s private beta they should visit the site and send the guys a message.

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk is Managing Editor at Betakit. Prior to Betakit Joseph wrote for the National Post, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Regina Leader Post, Techvibes and BC Business Online. Joseph often goes crazy on twitter during NHL and NFL games.