Featured on Aug 01, 2011
"I am hoping that I can be known as a great engineer and entrepreneur some day, rather than a sex symbol."
I am currently the founder of DealBurner - your reason to check in. It's a really cool service that sends you an sms if there is a deal you can redeem at that moment when you checkin on either facebook places or foursquare. It aggregates the full world of Instant deals (ScoutMob, Tenka, LivingSocial Instant, Groupon Now etc...) and marketplace deal sites (Lifesta, CityPockets)
I started my career in the world of financial services first as an engineer at a company called ipreo then as the VP of engineering at a small financial services startup.
In December a college friend, his twin brother and myself started building freespeech a mobile messaging application. We launched it in March and shut it down in July - I am so proud of what we accomplished, and it was an unbelievable experience that I wouldn't trade for anything.
I have been called a running savant by some, both out of shock that I am an avid marathoner/aspiring ultramarathoner, and the disbelief when I tell them how fast I am.
- Title: Founder, DealBurner
- Age: 27
- Location: SoHo
- Contact: @fertel
You’ve founded two companies this past year. Do you have any recommendations or advice for new entrepreneurs?
Do it, don't hesitate, if you have a job - quit it. Then don't stop, ship it and iterate. With freespeech we waited way too long to start building freespeech. We conceived it in March of 2010. I didn't leave my company and actually start building it until December. DealBurner went from conception to live product in 3 weeks.
Another recommendation, and I know this sounds trite. Surround yourself with capable professionals who will do whatever it takes to get the job done. I Personally had no experience in mobile development, but we were able to get freespeech built in 3 months and into the top 25 in the app store. We also maintained a consistent 4.5 star rating. We were able to do this thanks to the both due to the existing domain expertise and knowledge that Cole and Neil Harris my co founders in freespeech brought to the table and the grit and determination of the team to create an exceptional and competitive product.
Do you listen to music while you run? If so, what’s a typical playlist sound like? Also, what’s your best marathon run time?
I do. My music choice depends on the distance, the intensity, and the company. If I am doing a distance run - 20+ miles, I listen to a lot of Paul Simon. On the faster 10 mile runs - I tend to play a lot of harder stuff like Les Savy Fav, Wavves, Jay Reatard, and others like that. Although it changes drastically, and I am constantly getting more music - stuff gets really boring after a while when you are running 5-6 hours a week. If I am running with friends or on trails I don't listen to music.
I recently did a 50k in bear mountain without any music. I would have probably injured myself if I had headphones on as it would have been a severe distraction rocking out to Graceland while running up and down a mountain and avoiding treacherous terrain.
I am pretty new to marathoning. My first one was the NYC marathon last year where I ran a disappointing 3:12 (was 2 minutes from boston qualifying). You can see the breakdown here: http://runkeeper.com/user/fertel/activity/19782757. Although, I can brag about my best half marathon time of 1:24:52. I will be running NYC again this year. I plan to go sub 3 hours.
What’s your personal favorite daily deal site and why?
I really like Gilt City. Their offers seem to be better curated to places that I have gone to or would consider going to. I also really like the fact that a good number of their offers are more than just coupons. They are offering in a lot of cases a specialized experience with the establishment (tasting menus, multi course meals, etc...) that tend to be more memorable than the standard $10 for $20 coupons.
Is there anything in particular that you learned from your time at freespeech that you are now applying to your second startup, DealBurner?
I understand the importance of social media and the need to bake virality into your product a lot better. freespeech was an exceptional product, but we didn't have a built in way incentivize and promote sharing.
Another mistake that won't be made this time, is multi platform from day one. freespeech was iPhone only, and while you were able to reach anyone via sms both directly and via group messaging, not having an android version was a major weakness of our platform. Already, DealBurner is tied to either your facebook checkins or your foursquare checkins. When we do launch our mobile application, it will be on both iOS and android.