April 1, 2012
Way back at the beginning of the month, Zamp was a showcased startup at our SXSW #StartupLife Celebration. Founder Sam Zebarjadi was gracious enough to sit down for an interview, which became part of our SXSW video series (you can watch the interview here). He talked about his really cool social travel service that connects travelers while they are traveling, as well as how to get through the tough days, why the startup life is all about networking, and how the idea of stealth mode is dying.
Because we could only cover so much in the video interview, I circled back with him to learn more about what it’s like to co-found a company with your brother and learn more about the burgeoning startup scene in Atlanta. Here are excerpts from our interview:
Tech Cocktail: What are the best and worst things about working with your brother?
Sam Zebarjadi: For me, the only thing better than working on something fun and exciting is to do it with your best friend. We’ve worked at 5 companies together, and this is the 3rd startup that we’ve launched. Our work chemistry is amazing and we complement each other’s skills in a lot of ways. We also feel a deeper level of accountability with each other, which brings better results at the end of the day. The biggest issue we face is that work discussions find their way into family time!
Tech Cocktail: What do you like about starting up in a city that is not known as a startup hub? How do you see the startup community in Atlanta evolving?
Zebarjadi: One of the great advantages of being a startup in Atlanta is that startups can operate with longer runway with less capital. Due to the nascent nature of the ‘new’ startup scene, there is also less competition for quality talent and the fear of losing employees in a bidding war to a large, well-established technology company is significantly less than it would be in Silicon Valley, New York, or Boston.
There are a small (but growing) number of entrepreneurs, advisors, and investors, who are all aiming to grow the city’s brand and recognition as an up-and-coming hub for startup activity. There are some big names like ATDC, Venture Atlanta, and Georgia Tech who breed great innovation and are at the forefront of some of this work.
Tech Cocktail: Are there other startups in Atlanta you are excited about?
Zebarjadi: Another great startup who also attended SXSW is a company called Mowgli Games, and they have recently raised some funding and built a really cool social game which is gaining some traction. Another startup, SportsCrunch, is one that some former colleagues have started and they have just graduated out of the FlashPoint accelerator program here in Atlanta.
Tech Cocktail: Has Zamp been used in any unusual ways so far?
Zebarjadi: It’s always fascinating to see how people use technology, especially a service like ours that is focused on social travel and helping people discover and connect with others. While not necessarily unusual, one of the ways that some notable individuals are using the service is to help arrange and coordinate office hours while traveling–for startup advice, travel advice, and anything else that they have subject matter expertise in.
Tech Cocktail: So, what is your favorite feature of Zamp?
Zebarjadi: Being a travel snob, I love the dashboard! It’s great to not only keep track of my own travel stats, but to see info about others I follow and see where they are and where their travels have taken them.
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