We recently sat down with Nathaniel Medina, one of the founders of Impulse Labs. Located in Berkeley, CA, Medina’s company is a social media startup designed to redefine the purpose of social media. We had the pleasure of speaking with Medina about the first of many great products–the Impulse app.
Small Business View: Can you tell us about your business?
Nathaniel Medina: I am the co-founder of Impulse Labs, a company that is currently making its first product – Impulse. Impulse is a free app for Android and iOS that makes it easy to meet up with friends and people nearby based on your desired activity. We offer five categories to pick from, including Fitness, Foodie, Academic, Entertainment and Random. Example activities could be: “I want to hike. Anyone wanna join? #fitness #hike”, or “Let’s chat while we grub on some pizza #foodie #pizza” etc). We really want our users to have freedom in deciding what it is they want to do. We are currently in the beta testing phase at UC Berkeley, where I attend college.
SBV: Have you always wanted to be in business?
NM: I think I have always wanted to create and own something, and–as cliché as it sounds–to follow my own dreams instead of working for someone else’s. I realize that building your own business is incredibly risky, but I find excitement out of it. My technical co-founder, Alec Garcia, shares a similar vision and we are committed to building something that our market wants.
SBV: What is your ultimate vision for the brand?
NM: We hope to be the ultimate hub that people use to do things with other people. Imagine being a freshman at a huge college campus. Given everyone’s schedules, it can be very hard to find others to do things with, even simple things like wanting to eat with someone at the cafeteria. We want people to know that someone is always out there waiting for them on Impulse. Last year, 32% of college students reported being too depressed to function at some point (American College Health Association). As a result, we hope that Impulse can help decrease depression, some of which is from loneliness.
Also, in other matching apps, which tend to be focused on dating, the user is more interested in other people’s appearance. With Impulse, we are making the event the center of attention so it’s not as superficial.
SBV: Looking back to when you started your business, what did you see in its future?
NM: I can honestly say that we are so small right now that getting 1,000 users would be huge. Of course, however, we are motivated to see how big we can become. Once we achieve product/market fit from user testing and feedback, we plan to scale. Also, we are discussing ways of monetizing the app once we grow our user base.
SBV: What is your biggest reward from what you do?
NM: I think it’s the learning process of starting a company and seeing how our product affects people. It’s difficult but so rewarding.
SBV: What’s the most challenging thing you do?
NM: Right now it’s achieving product/market fit. Alec and I are following the lean startup methodology. We are implementing features quickly, testing and getting feedback from users. If users like it, then the feature stays. If not, then we need to rethink.
SBV: What do you do to kick back after a long day?
NM: I’m a huge film guy. So when I have the time I’ll go and watch a movie at the theater. I’m also very serious about self-help learning so I’ll read a motivational book or watch an insightful YouTube video. Some of my favorite books on self-help are The Power of Now (Tolle), The Greatest Salesman in the World (Mandino) and How to Win Friends and Influence People (Carnegie).
SBV: Are you involved with any other organizations right now?
NM: I am the Public Relations Chair of a non-profit called Hermanos Unidos. We help the community through service and fundraising.
SBV: Any advice for someone just starting out?
NM: Start now, and keep doing. You’ve spent enough time thinking. Stop thinking and do, do, do. Good luck to all small businesses out there!
You can learn more about Impulse Labs at http://www.impulse.life.