We are doing a series of Q&A features around Austin-based companies that are launching their company or their product at SXSW 2014. If you’d like to be featured as well, please use the Submit News button. Today’s feature is with Tom Klein, co-founder of iM5.
Q: Explain what iM5 is in a way that my mom can understand.
iM5 is a social platform to inspire real-life action through the sharing of ideas. It can be anything from discovering cool things happening in your area, achieving personal goals, or collaborating to create social change. We want this to be your daily go-to app for anything you want to do.
Q: What makes iM5 unlike other social networks?
iM5 is focused on future objectives and allows the sharing of meaningful dialog between users. Instead of a Like, Tweet, Pin, or Heart; iM5 has the “Do It” button. While that may sound overly simplified, it highlights the specific intent to commit to a real-life action. Combined with other features and functions, iM5 provides a more constructive environment instead of a fragmented and noisy experience.
Q: What does the name iM5 represent?
Inspiring people to take real-life action is the meaning behind iM5, with the letters “i” & “M” representing “Inspire Me” and the “5” representing the act of Hi-5in’ someone after completing an action which is a feature within the app.
Q: What was your “lightbulb” moment when you knew you had something?
The initial spark happened when my co-founder’s father asked, “Why are people just sharing what they have already done in the past?” Then suggested that their should be a network where people can share what they want to do. He’s a renowned German psychologist and saw a problem in the behavior of how people are using social networks. Within 30 minutes we had the concept and functionality figured out.
Q: Who are the hard working team members building this company?
Andre Refay and myself, are the founders of iM5. We partnered 12 years ago to create what is now a digital publishing company (PhoneDog Media) in the mobile technology space. The “purpose motive” for iM5 was exceptionally motivating and I felt it was within my scope of expertise and knowledge. The primary missing link was not having a team capable of developing the product. Instead of trying to piece together an internal team, we searched for an existing product development firm with the skill sets, passion, and expertise. In doing so, we found Handsome.is, an incredible team here in Austin that saw our vision and was willing to take this journey with us.
Q: What is the “secret sauce” that will make you shine above the competitors?
We devised a set of features and functions that transforms how people will interact with one another for the sole purpose of achieving future objectives. Those features and functions combined with creative constraints creates a recipe for a social experience that we expect to be wildly entertaining, yet productive.
Q: The best advice we’ve received so far has been:
As an entrepreneur, you have to know every aspect of your business in its entirety. When building a product and startup company, you cannot delegate any aspect of the business over to someone without understanding it fully yourself and driving the vision. This includes everything from legal, fund raising, strategy, development, branding, and down to the smallest minute details. It’s advice I’ve heard often from many prominent entrepreneurs and something I’ve absorbed wholeheartedly.