By Adam James Sarkis
A combination of loving products and wanting more from them. Spree is a P2P crypto and content exchange platform.
P2P apps like Venmo, Cashapp, and Zelle have become essential apps in our life- many Gen-Z/ Millennials pay rent, phone bills, utilities with P2P exchanges. I love the social aspect of Venmo- but the ability to only send an emoji/short comment feels so outdated. The most popular social platforms are video based right now.
In addition, I recently have been able to understand the importance of cryptocurrency moving into the future. I’ve always been excited about something like Bitcoin being used as casual as the dollar. It just felt like there’s a road block between Bitcoin/ other cryptos being considered something you can spend/exchange rather than invest/flip like gold or stocks. Right now there’s awesome apps like Coinbase to purchase and track your Bitcoin, but I wish there was a way to casually send a friend, family, partner some Bitcoin- it feels like such a good faith gift right now.
Our team put our heads together, collected research, and observed trends to form a solution to make cryptocurrency exchange between friends more casual and fun.
In the film industry, you pitch your movie script by comparing other movies to explain your own. If I were to use that same style of pitch- Spree is casual like Venmo and social like Tiktok for exchanging crypto.
No, I connected with Michael Kirsanov (COO), someone I’ve known for a few years and have always enjoyed brainstorming ideas with. He’s very creative but extremely technical and asks the questions I never think of.
Michael introduced me to Erin Magennis (CTO), a Milwaukee tech prodigy that has been pitching startups since the age of 14 and actively applying her technical abilities to improve life and unite community. All three of us have experience launching startups. 🥳
Our initial idea was building a universal P2P money exchange app. We conducted a lot of research to see how Venmo and Cashapp earn revenue. We found Cashapp revenue went through the roof when they introduced the function to buy Bitcoin and 70% of their revenue in 2020 is from Bitcoin purchases. We knew we needed to implement crypto exchange within Spree to earn revenue, but it wasn’t quite our main focus initially. During one of our team meetings, Erin hit the pause button and explained to us how Spree can be a bigger idea if we shifted our focus on crypto and video exchange. These were functions we planned to implement initially- however, they were not emphasized in our early pitches. This brainstorming session turned Spree from a solid idea to a startup that runs parallels of innovation to the early stages of Youtube.
Erin and Michael are working on our MVP, and we hope to launch in April, I’ve been pitching nonstop to VCs to secure pre-seed funding.
It’s a very Midwestern mindset to be “hush, hush” what you’re working on. I think you have to be your loudest in the early stages of constructing the business; it raises the possibilities of attracting talent, investment and press. It’s important people know about you and what you’re working on before you have to explain face to face. Pitching can give you fatigue. If people already know what you’re working on, it can provide a little mental relief and word of mouth is your resume. “Hey did you hear so and so is working on this?” is so valuable, and so is free marketing that’s achieved if you use social platforms correctly.
In college (2008-ish) I built a community based website called “The Milly." This website was a source to ease the process for younger people to find cool concerts, happy hours, gallery showcases, etc. without digging through The Onion backpages everyday. Social media was different back then. Facebook events didn’t exist; influencers didn’t exist; people were still using Myspace. I remember going to a Slick Rick concert in Milwaukee, and there were like 15 people at the show because the show was not promoted very well.
So I built this blog, The Milly, and leveraged Twitter to pull an audience outside of my immediate network. The product was well built and visually beautiful; however, I was a young college kid, completely clueless on how to scale a business and a little shy to put myself out there more.
Today, I see the success of a similar business that was just getting started around the same time, Newaukee, and can’t help to think The Milly could have mayyyybe had a quarter of their success had I been given guidance to be louder and ask for help.
I’m working on Spree full time and kind of consider every hour of the day an opportunity to put some work in. Luckily this has not been taxing on me whatsoever because I love the product we are building and constantly inspired by the founding crew behind it. I try to spend time in the morning relaxing and easing my way into the work day- reading, yoga, listening to music, painting & watching Basketball highlights.
I do not set an alarm! Waking up naturally is very essential for my mental well-being.
Yes, I’m creative at heart and get excited about creating new ideas that solve problems. I walked away from a startup I helped launch last year and was unsure what my next move would be. Luckily, my creative did not fail me and helped curate the vision of Spree. I feel more fulfillment from this idea than any I’ve had before. I like futuristic innovations that impact daily life. This feels like the biggest idea I’ve been apart of; it’s impossible to put a ceiling on it.
Personally, I don’t want to be defined by one thing. I like creating innovative solutions. I paint. I make clothing. I’m constantly tinkering with things. My goal is to build a “brand” of expectation that I create cool shit without limitations of medium.
This question connects with me a little too much. My previous startup; our two-person founding team pressured one another and worked under extreme stress. It left me putting off visits to the doctor, not eating and left me in a really tough place physically. Later, I found I was battling anemia for a year without knowing why I was so tired and dizzy and nursing a back injury that had caused my nerves to go crazy. I can’t stress enough- prioritize your mental and physical health and give your team a lot of flexibility so they no not experience my previous mistakes.
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Web : www.spreemeplease.com