As a shooting star in the startup world, Jared Hecht has “always had a proclivity for straying from the common path.” And like a shooting star, Jared has been opening eyes from the very beginning of his young—and rather impressive—career. Armed with a degree in Political Science from Columbia University, Jared first made a name for himself in his senior year, when he acted as managing director and publisher for the university’s student-written guidebook, Inside New York. Taking the publication into the 21st century, his leadership and experience landed him his first post-grad gig as Business Development Manager at a little startup called tumblr. You may have heard of it.
After getting a taste for the tech world in his role with the blogging mega-site, Jared partnered with software engineer Steve Martocci to try his hand in the ever-emerging world of social networking. The pair co-founded the group messaging app GroupMe, in May 2010. What began as a quick and simple way for friends to stay connected in areas with unreliable phone service grew overnight into a buzzing social networking app—prompting $10.5 million from investors, and $80 million one year later, with the acquisition of the company by Skype.
In September 2013, Hecht co-founded and raised $3.4 million for Fundera, a loan marketplace for small businesses. Acting as CEO, he aims to provide solutions to small businesses that are denied bank loans, despite having a healthy and successful business. With 20 lenders already vetted and a successful private beta launch, Fundera is ready to begin matching pre-qualified applicants with lenders—proving once more that if there’s a foreseeable problem, Jared Hecht knows how to fix it, and make everyone money in the process.
Mobile, E-Commerce, Communication, Social Networks
Business Development, Mobile Enterprise, E-Commerce, Publishing
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On the strategy of business building: “I’d say that building a company is more akin to playing chess while jumping out of a plane.”
On the importance of developing for Mobile: “I think the most compelling reason to build mobile first is because it forces you to think small. Being confined to the real-estate of a phone’s tiny screen requires a focus on simplicity of design and functionality”
On handling exchanges with competitors: “We never have to cite ‘competitors’ to get our points across . . . If it drives you mad when your competition publicly talks negatively about you, it probably drives them even crazier when you don’t acknowledge them back.”