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Featured on Mar 07, 2011

Suraj Patel

"Much like myself, the Internet's been since around since the 80s."


After graduating from Stanford and deciding that there wasn't too much job demand for a political scientist, I went to law school. A few stints at law firms, a consulting firm, the Obama Campaign, and in hotel development left me with one awesome problem - a lot of different friends from different social networks and periods in my life that I wanted to make sure I keep in touch with whenever I'm in New York or traveling around the country. A few friends and I decided it was too hard to figure out who wants to hang out & remember who to call when you no longer have a compact campus full of friends to play with. So, we washed our hands of the law thing and went right into founding - an easy way to share your what you're up for with your friends so you can start hanging out in real life more often. We made a social tool that brings people together and actually lets them be social because we think that our lives are better when we hang out with more of our friends more often.

  • Title: Co-Founder, Co-CEO of imup4
  • Age: 26
  • Location: East Village
  • Contact: @surajstar

You’ve been working on your startup, imup4, since April of 2010, so you’re coming up to your company’s one year anniversary. Do you have any general advice do you have for other founders or potential founders?

LOVE the brand you're building and the lifestyle you're selling, because you're going to be living it like it's your job (because it is your job).  I've never been involved in anything in my life where the highs are as high and the lows are as low as being an entrepreneur with your own startup.  And that's why you've got to love what you're building, because otherwise, when you hit one of those down days after being consumed 24/7 by your project, you're not going to make it unless you love and believe in what you're working towards.  Oh yeah, and everything takes too long when it's dealing with your startup - whether it's adding a feature or waiting for someone to finish a promo video - everything takes too long because it's slowing down the labor you love.  If you feel that way, you're off to a good start. 

You mention on Twitter that you’d like to be the antiSXSW app at SXSW.  Can you explain to us what you guys mean by the antiSXSW app and why you’re taking that approach?

There are a lot of apps out there that seem to be designed strictly for SXSW, that hope to launch at SXSW, or that claim to be noteworthy because of how they're going to facilitate some sort of behavior down at SXSW. We're not one of those apps. imup4 is an app designed to be used with your real friends so that you can start hanging out more often - it basically lets people accomplish digitally what they've already been doing for years...planning.  But it doesn't seek to change behavior, create a digital chatroom, or provide yet another way for you to bury your face in your phone.  It's designed to be simple so that you get in, get your information, and get out so you can enjoy life - I can't stand when my friends and I are out at a bar or restaurant and glued to our phones.  

We hope people take notice of imup4 at SXSW so that they can take it back to their normal friends who may still be uncomfortable sharing locations, plans, and comments with strangers or who aren't interested in spending a lot of time texting or chatting with their phones.  A bunch of friends from around the country descending upon Austin is exactly the sort of event that imup4 would help out with, but it's not because SXSW is filled with techies, early adopters, or even mobile phone users. It's because SXSW is filled with regular old people who need to make plans on the go the way everyone else does.  

Besides your own, imup4, what are some of your favorite iPhone apps that are currently available?

What Foursquare has accomplished is nothing short of remarkable by creating a whole social map of the world from scratch.  It's still my favorite app & I find it so useful sometimes - I was on vacation in Bali and I had no idea where to go out, pulled out my iPhone and saw "Potato Head Beach Club" was trending at midnight and i was only 1500 meters away - next thing I know, I'm at the coolest spot on an island on the other side of the world thanks to an app that was built about 5 blocks from me in the East Village.  It's still the best.  I also love Path because I'm starting to get a little overwhelmed with huge networks and over sharing so it's like my nice little room for my best friends and I to share all the pictures we dare not post anywhere else. I think there are some great ones coming along this year in NYC like Hashable, which is so useful & has such an awesome team of kids working there & looks like it's gonna be great.