theClubhou.se member Jonathan Larry likes the upbeat, and he’s developed a platform to share the good stuff. Check out what he’s creating!
What is the business?
Upliff is a social network for sharing positive content. Upliff comes from the word ‘uplift’, meaning to morally or spiritually elevate and inspire happiness or hope. Our mission is to cause change in the world by uncovering the good that life brings while disrupting the negative view on life people have come to accept.
When and where did you found it?
Upliff got started in November 2015 at an event in Columbia, SC called Startup Weekend.
Where is the business now?
The business is based in the Augusta area, but with many friends in Aiken and Columbia, there’s a lot of traveling back and forth across the river.
What were you like in school?
I went to USC Aiken and majored in business, putting a lot of time and effort into school work. There were late nights writing papers or studying, but it felt great to graduate with honors. Aside from studying, I worked all four years, so there wasn’t much time left to get very involved on campus.
Any extra-curricular activities?
One of the things I’ve recently taken up is photography. After a long week, it’s relaxing to go for a walk along the Augusta Canal and get a couple shots of the scenery. I also enjoy video producing and editing and graphic design.
Any significant experiences/skills that (with hindsight) influenced your business?
At North Augusta High School, I believe in my sophomore year, I took a web development course. It was the first time I built a website. I continued building websites, creating one for the school and a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) competition. This was when I began realizing my passion for business and technology.
What appealed to you about entrepreneurship?
The ability to positively impact people by creating a solution to a problem. Yes, anyone anywhere can do that, but not many do. Entrepreneurs see a problem and instead of complaining about it, they come up with a solution, turn it into a business, and see it make a difference in the world. It’s a challenge, but I’ve always liked to challenge myself to go beyond my comfort zone.
How did you get the idea?
I read and watch a lot news. It’s something I do to stay updated on current events happening around the world. I got tired of seeing how the negative stories always outnumber the positive stories, so I wanted to create a place that people could go to just see and share the positive things happening in their own lives and around the world.
How has your idea progressed over time?
The idea has become a reality and is continuing to grow and change over time. The UX/UI designer I worked with at Startup Weekend 2015 is still a part of the team, and we’re working with a developer I met at last year’s Startup Weekend on the mobile app launching later this year. At the end of August last year, we launched a website that features a ton of good news articles from around the world.
How did you fund the business?
I self-funded the business.
How did you market your business?
Aside from my personal connections and networking, social media’s played a huge marketing role.
Who are your main competitors?
Too many to list haha. There are the companies you typically think about when you hear ‘social media’, and there are also some outlets that share only good news. What makes Upliff different is the social aspect we bring to positive content.
What have you learned from your competitors (both successes and failures)?
Something simple: companies that don’t to predict the market or don’t adapt fast enough fail. It’s so simple but even large companies in my industry have let their products get stale. Some are on a downward trend while others have successfully adapted by acquiring smaller social media companies to integrate into their portfolio and stay relevant.
The Dark Knight
Best piece of advice?
Move out of your comfort zone.
What is next for your business?
Launching the mobile app is the biggest thing coming up, but we’re continuing to work on more ways to share positive content.
What next for you?
I’ll continue working on Upliff, but personally, I do want to travel and see more of the world.
How has working out of theClubhou.se benefitted your company?
theClubhou.se is a great resource. In addition to the space that allows for freedom from distractions, the Lunch & Learns and Startup Bootcamp have been great opportunities to learn from the experts. With my business still being in an early stage, guidance from those who know the industry well is invaluable as it helps save time, money and allows me to avoid mistakes others have made.