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Hack To Start
Episode 164

Giuseppe Stuto

CEO & Co-Founder of @FamAppOfficial and @SmackHighTeam| @Techstars '15

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Music

Giuseppe Stuto is the co-founder and CEO of Fam, a group video chat app for iMessage that quickly grew to over 1 million users in just 10 days! But Fam almost didn’t happen. Fam is a pivot off another social app that Giuseppe and his team built - SmackHigh - which started off as a bit of a joke for high school students to exchange smack talk between sports teams. But it quickly showed some promise and Giuseppe and his team began to iterate. Houseparty and Facebook live had just launched, but the team at Fam wanted to put the product where teens would use it the most - iMessage. Giuseppe joins us to share his story, what it was like building a career in consumer tech, what it was like launching his first company, how they created Fam, what it’s been like growing this iMessage app, what it was like raising money, and much more.

Main Objectives For This Episode

  • Learn more about how Giuseppe got into startups
  • Learn more about how they pivoted SmackHigh into Fam - and then got 1M users in 10 days.
  • Learn more about what it was like raising VC funding
  • And more!

Episode Overview

Giuseppe Stuto is the co-founder and CEO of Fam, a group video chat app for iMessage that quickly grew to over 1 million users in just 10 days!

But Fam almost didn’t happen.

Fam is a pivot off another social app that Giuseppe and his team built - SmackHigh - which started off as a bit of a joke for high school students to exchange smack talk between sports teams. But it quickly showed some promise and Giuseppe and his team began to iterate.

Houseparty and Facebook live had just launched, but the team at Fam wanted to put the product where teens would use it the most - iMessage.

Giuseppe joins us to share his story, what it was like building a career in consumer tech, what it was like launching his first company, how they created Fam, what it’s been like growing this iMessage app, what it was like raising money, and much more.


Some Of The Questions We Ask

2:40
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself. Where are you from, what was it like growing up and what did you study?

4:25
So how did you start your career while in school?

5:50
So with no formal background in technology you decided to dive into building an agency. Can you tell us more about this experience?

8:18
Can you tell us more about it what it did and what it was like to finally be working on something for yourself?

15:58
So you guys took SmackHigh from what started as a bit of a joke, to an MVP and then it transformed into Fam. So how did that happen? What caused the pivot in the product?

21:19
So what was it like building a consumer app in that type of environment?

22:46
So have have you guys approached growth? did those 1M users in 10 days all come from the virility of iMessage or were there other tactics involved?

23:52
So you guys have raised just under 4M. What’s your approach to raising money for a consumer app? Do you have any feedback for other entrepreneurs?

29:38
What’s next for Fam? Especially with iOS 11 about to launch publicly in a few weeks?

30:53
So on a different note, what are some of the apps that you turn to for inspiration or really enjoy using?

33:09
Are there any other resources that you keep coming back to and that you’d recommend to others?

35:42
Do you have any final thoughts or words of advice for other entrepreneurs out there?


Here are some of the most important links and resources mentioned throughout the show.

Twitter Handles & Websites

Giuseppe Stuto on Twitter
Giuseppe Stuto on the web
Fam on Twitter
Fam on the web
Tyler Copeland on Twitter
Franco Varriano on Twitter

Devices, Apps, and Books

US Teens engage with iMessage more than any other social platform
Monkey
Marco Polo
Blockfolio
Google Duo
Medium
The Hierarchy of Engagement
Chaos Monkeys
The Airbnb Story

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