John Cook broke the news earlier this week about our investment in Untitled Startup. Andy led the deal for us and has been closely working with Damon and Aviel for several months now, but I wanted to take a minute to publicly welcome Untitled Startup to the Founder’s Co-op family and share some of the reasons why I’m personally excited about what they’re up to.
For those who haven’t taken a closer look, Untitled Startup is interesting not only for what they do, but also (and especially) *how* they’re going about doing it. Damon and Aviel are already pretty well-known in the Twitter community as the developers behind TweepSearch, TweetStats and TweetWeather. They have a ton of experience with the ways in which individuals and organizations are already using Twitter as a PR and marketing platform, and they have a long list of product ideas – some more ambitious than others – to make life easier for these folks.
But even more importantly, the Untitled Startup team has a deep-in-the-bones understanding of how real-time communications has irreversibly changed the relationship between companies and their customers, so much so that they’ve chosen to make the entire process of building their company a real-time experiment in transparency and customer participation. They’ve invited their customers (and potential customers) to tell them what products they should build and how they should promote (and even operate) the business. They share daily videos detailing the highs and lows of building a new startup, warts and all. Somehow amidst all this listening and sharing they also find time to actually build the products customers asked for, and even *that* process is laid bare with regularly-updated posts about product development, market research, customer feedback, and even usage statistics.
Damon and Aviel are dead serious about building a business and solving problems for customers, but their spirit of openness and “lightness” as they go about it is a pleasure to be around. I know they’ll do great things as a company, but they’re also a wonderful addition to the Founder’s Co-op community, and I suspect that all of our portfolio companies will learn a new trick of two from their extreme experiment in open startup development.