Zoosk.com @ Lehigh Silicon Valley

7 Jan

Zoosk co-CEO Shayan Zadeh was the first startup in the Silicon Valley leg of Lehigh Silicon Valley 2013. He was one of the participants last year too.

Shayan Zadeh was very impressive in his delivery of Q&A after the catered dinner at Hotel Cabana/Crown Plaza at Palo Alto. I was particularly interested in the story of Zoosk. Shayan and his partner Alex had come from Iran to US for graduate study. Legal issues prevented them to get going as a business, so they got their Green Card‘s in Microsoft and NASA, soon they started a Marketing Research company.

Their initial venture focussing on Marketing Research didnt get sufficient lift, so they tried everything still focussing on market research like engaging users in a game and doing market research. One of their  side and fun project/game was to rate a their friends on hotness. Where have we heard about something like this: remember the Facebook story, the first time they made news on their university campus. Well they found that people wanted to meet hot individuals in any location and the users were willing to pay up to $10 for that introduction. This new change took off, the growth was off the charts and also brought in much needed cash. From there it has morphed into Zoosk’s current form.

I draw inspiration from this as the initial parts of the story match my own story in a way. International Graduate Student from India, looking to begin a startup, no solid ideas yet. I am on my 2’nd startup idea and idea still no end in sight. Perhaps there is something in the air around Silicon Valley that just might cause a change in my current startup idea, that makes it take off… So there is light at the end of the tunnel

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