From HACKcelerator To TechStars, Checking In With SocialCapital
Flashback to August 1-2nd of 2015. That was the first time we met Obed and Tope, the creators of SocialCapital. The product was born at Capital One’s SmallBizDev hackathon in San Francisco, and from that moment these guys have been (as people keep saying about them) killing it. We talked to Tope about their journey from hackathon project, to HACKcelerator grads, to TechStars.
Check it out, and stayed tuned to SocialCapital, they’ve got great stuff in the works!
Introduce yourself! Where you from? Did you guys (Tope and Obed) know each other before starting SocialCapital? What were you doing at the time (students? jobs?)?
Hi my name is Tope Alabi. I was born to a middle class family in Nigeria and moved to the U.S as a child in 1998. I have always been curious about technology even as a child. I studied electrical engineering at the University of North Texas and worked as a research assistant on a Department of Defense project while also taking classes. After university, I moved to New York and worked at various technology companies including Wix.com, where I met Obed Eugene. We were introduced by a mutual friend at Wix’s co-working space on 23rd St. We didn’t know at the time that we would become co-founders, but we would periodically exchange ideas about software and trends in the technology industry.
So, we’ve actually met you guys before, last year during the HACKcelerator. But let’s take a step back. All the way back to the Capital One SmallBizDev hackathon in San Francisco last year, what was your initial plan for your project?
Well our goal was to solve the problem of talent acquisition at small businesses. Small businesses do not have the resources to compete with large enterprises in the job market. They also tend to have smaller teams so one bad apple can really have a negative effect. In order to optimize, small businesses must hire for soft skills. Which is why 67% of hiring managers at SMBs perform a Google search and check candidates’ social media before making a hire.
We wanted to automate this process so we created a social finder, which could essentially perform a google search, find a candidate’s social profiles, and also notify the hiring manager of any red flags.
And what did you guys win?
We won $3,500, and an opportunity to work with Capital One to develop our application and our company!
Cool! So from there you went into the HACKcelerator, AngelHack’s 12-week pre-accelerator program. Can you tell us what you guys learned going through that?
The HACKcelerator helped us to articulate the problem and and understand the pain points from a customer perspective. We did a lot of customer development interviews and also got a chance to connect with fellow entrepreneurs and investors in Silicon Valley ecosystem.
What were the most important relationships you made during the HACKcelerator program and how did these relationship help you guys out to further develop your business?
Our most important relationships came from the Capital One mentors as well as the AngelHack staff, all of whom are friends of the company till this day. Milan Koch, Dave Talach, Hilary Singal, and Shaun Webb
After the HACKcelerator, what happened next?
After the AngelHack program SocialCapital got accepted into the Techstars accelerator program. This gave us the resources we needed to continue our startup journey and build this company into a viable business.
Do you feel like the HACKcelerator prepared you for TechStars? If so, how?
HACKcelerator contributed greatly to our early success by connecting us with the right people who could help us bring our solution to the industry as well as investors with the resources to help us grow the company.
Where do you guys want to go next? What is the future of SocialCapital?
SocialCapital is an artificial intelligence platform. Our goal is to create the strongest personality insights Artificial Intelligence machine, unlocking a whole new era of connectedness for all of humanity.
Check out SocialCapital at their website, socialcapital.io