Student entrepreneur and Georgia Tech sophomore Anushk Mittal caught the attention of the school’s elite Startup Exchange CORE community soon after he put in his application. Since he began last summer, his viral meme app, Memeois, has already grown to several thousand monthly active users. It leverages machine learning to crawl the web and scan for new memes, index them, and track user engagement across several demographics.
Mittal is passionate about the cultural phenomenon behind internet memes — it’s currently the topic of his undergraduate thesis. The founder was also one of the youngest partners accepted into Facebook’s online incubator program, FbStart, at age 16.
Memeois currently boasts three employees, is a finalist in Georgia Tech’s Inventure Prize Competition,and is looking to raise its first round of seed funding. Mittal shares more about their meme platform, challenges he’s encountered as a student founder, and their surprising B2B revenue model.
What’s your pitch?
Memeois is an all-meme platform that personalizes the way you interact with memes. It crawls the internet for memes and uses machine learning to curate a personalized feed of memes relevant to you. The user can discover memes by genre or search them through Siri. With a built-in meme generator, editor and sharing features, it’s a unified meme platform.
How’d you get the idea for it?
I was inspired to start Memeois during my freshman year at Georgia Tech. As a college freshman, I often felt like escaping to the world of relatable memes to relax and have fun after a stressful day of classes. After doing research, I realized that memes are not only just silly humor, but a great way to communicate with others, especially in today’s world when there’s so much negativity and stress.
Memeois has one mission: to give people the power to share and to facilitate a world that is more open and connected. We do so through an accessible all-meme platform, where people can discover and experience the magic of memes and share it with everyone.
What problem are you solving?
Currently, there’s no personalized or centralized meme experience. You have to browse memes on subreddits or Facebook to find the ones you want. Memeois provides a unified, searchable platform that integrates a meme generator (instead of using cheap apps or requiring image editing skills) with editing and sharing features. We’re targeting millennials and Gen Z users.
What’s your current funding status?
We’re bootstrapped and funded through Facebook Developer’s FbStart that provides $40,000 worth of tools and services as part of the program.
What’s your revenue model?
We’re a free user platform with no ads. We will be earning money through B2B solutions. Memeois gathers “intelligent” human-meme interaction data that be used as API tools that allows other companies to integrate relevant memes in their product as well as let online content creators automatically add memes based on their content. Memes lead to high user engagement.
What are the challenges you’ve encountered as a student startup founder?
Time is a big factor with keeping up with midterms and assignments. I’ve also encountered issues with not having industry connections, but Startup Exchange/Create-X will assist with this.
On a brighter side, I like working on real world challenges to learn something new. Often I learn something necessary to survive, then I find the same material in class later. “Making the world a better place” is a huge motivation and access to talent/professors while at Georgia Tech is invaluable.
Who are your competitors and how do you stand out?
There’s no direct competition to what we’re building, but we are aiming to change the way you communicate online and consume media. From that perspective, then Facebook/Twitter/Reddit. They are the “traditional” social media with literally every person on the internet using it, but they haven’t adapted for the new internet language of memes. In fact, did you know Facebook is actively suppressing memes in favor of promoting videos?
What are some lessons you’ve learned as you grow your business that may be helpful for others?
Build your product in public. Launch as soon as you have the MVP and be accountable by working in public. Also, reach out early so you can network and connect with others. Cold emails usually work if you do your research. I’m currently looking for mentors and/or investors for our seed round of funding.
Wesley Samples is a leader of Georgia Tech’s Startup Exchange program, the student-led community of entrepreneurs. Startup Exchange CORE is an exclusive, founders-only group that represents the entrepreneurial talent within Startup Exchange.
Muriel Vega contributed to article development.