Tether

 

Tether is an app for friends to create and share collaborative stories. 

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PHOTOS: Jena Cumbo

An excerpt from an interview with Co-founders Aaron MacGregor, Phil Scarfi and Tom Hilbrich. 

How did Tether come to be?

Aaron: About two-three years ago, I was driving home with my friends after an Eminem concert near our hometown and I pull out Snapchat and record myself singing and send it to my buddies. I check my Snapchat and I have five or so snaps from all my friends who were singing different parts of the song. I thought about how cool it would be if those were all stitched together. 

Aaron: But, where I'm from, getting an app built is unheard of. So, I sat on the idea for a couple of years. I kept running into times where I thought 'it would be so cool' and finally after having a terrible day at school, I messaged my uncle and pitched it to him. He fell in love with the idea, told me to move out to New York for the summer and start building a team. Within two weeks, I dropped everything and moved. After some interviews, I met Phil, who seemed to share the same vision that I did. Then one of my other buddies introduced me to Tom, who we brought on to do marketing for us. 

What has been the most challenging part so far?

Aaron: One of the most challenging things so far, was that at the start, Phil was in Massachusetts, Tom was in Connecticut, and I was in Canada so we would text to figure things out. I've noticed a few times, after living with Phil, how much better it has been. 

What has been the most satisfying moment so far?

Tom: I felt like it was a big accomplishment when we launched the app. That definitely stuck with me and having a launch party in Connecticut was great. Seeing how many people were there and how active they were, and also getting Aaron and his buddy to come down. It was really something. 

Aaron: I went to the launch party in Connecticut, not knowing anyone there. When we went to the bar two girls came up to me and knew that we were the guys that made Tether because they had it and had seen my face. That was one of the better feelings I've had. Also, it's cool watching videos on Tether and hearing people in the background talk positively about the app. 

Phil: For me, before I moved in with Aaron, my roommate and I pulled out this app and watched these videos of these Canadian kids with their accents. We were sitting there, scrolling down the feed and cracking up and then realized we had been on Tether for an hour or two. 

What is your idea of success for Tether?

Aaron: In short term, we would love to get into an accelerator type program, to strengthen the weaknesses of the whole project. My next success would be to get funding, which would be a huge validation. It would also allow us all to work on this full time. 

Tom: From my end, I think this idea has the opportunity to be a Snapchat or an Instagram. Long term, I think being seen as direct competitors with those companies - that's where it can grow to. That's the point when I think we can look at each other and say, 'yeah! We did it guys!' 

Phil: For me, it's a lot more of seeing a problem solved. The biggest problem I see this solving is friends being disconnected. I can't tell you how many friends I've lost contact with. I tried to keep in touch via phone calls and texting but it's not the same as hanging out. With Tether, it's so easy. When we were beta testing it, Aaron's Canadian friends were making hysterical videos. I've never met them a day in my life, but now I feel like I know them, like they're my best friends now. 

So, in a way, Tether helps you find new friends too?

Aaron: Yeah. I have that one friend. I show up in New York and everyone begs me to bring him from Canada. He feels like he's buddies with my buddies. It actually has built friendships, which I didn't really foresee happening, but that's what has happened so far. 

In one word, describe your life as an entrepreneur? 

Phil: Disruption, Innovation...just kidding...

Aaron: Exciting. Every day something different can happen. 

Tom: Connection. We're connecting all these different people and meeting new people in the process. 

Phil: Ambitious. When Aaron first came to me with the idea, I hadn't developed anything with video. I didn't know how to do it, but I knew that I could do it. The whole process was a learning process. 

Aaron: You didn't tell me that you didn't know how to do it...

 

- Interviewed by H.B., ROKO Labs.