The Fetchnotes team has been riding on a high-note, it seems. Since we first wrote about Fetchnotes, the team has added several thousand beta users, and by the end of this month will release Fetchnotes to the public.
Recently, cofounder Chase Lee was awarded title of Entrepreneur of the Year at the University of Michigan, where he studies as a Business student. We recently caught up with Chase to find out more about the award, and how he juggles life as both a startup cofounder, and full time student…
Tell me more about Entrepreneurial outreach at the University of Michigan?
It’s an exciting time to be a student at U-M. It’s getting to a point where if you haven’t heard about Entrepreneurship, you’re probably just not listening…
Every student entering into the engineering program will hear about M-powered and the other Entrepreneurial resources supported by the University.
We have classes like the Entrepreneurship Hour class – one of the biggest efforts on campus, with over 400 students that take this elective course. U-M’s Center for Entrepreneurship even took a bus to the lean startup conference in Grand Rapids early last year.
Techarb, an incubator supported by the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Zell Lurie Institute, and the Office of Vice President Research, gives Fetchnotes an office for recruiting, working, and hackathons/team meetings.
Back in November, we featured a post written by your partner in Fetchnotes, Alex Schiff, that covered a recent press push you did for the company. Will you talk a little more about Fetchnotes and it’s media appeal?
We currently have about 2400 users in a closed beta. The media push took us from 200 users when we first started, to adding 1,000 within a week. This was through features in ReadWriteWeb, AllthingsD, Wall Street Journal, and of course Grow Detroit. We wanted to keep the numbers small, to ensure we reach out to each new user right now to gain valuable member input and feedback.
What’s next for Fetchnotes?
We’re building in the use of the @ tag. It’s the simple nature of being able to quickly direct a memo toward an individual or group of people on Fetchnotes – launching publicly in the next month as well.
When did you start coding?
I started when I was about ten years old. I had an interest in taking computers apart and fixing them, and I took the initiative to learn programming. I started with C++, then PHP, and eventually Python — which is the programming language that Fetchnotes was built in.
You’re a full-time student, and a cofounder of a startup. What’s your day-to-day look like?
In addition to my classes, I work as a part-time developer for the school of Kinesiology at U-M. I typically work on their website during the day, in between classes and studying. Then I break from 5-6 for dinner, meetings, etc. Then I try to work on Fetchnotes for five hours or so. On weekends, time is spent between Fetchnotes and homework.
Sounds like you have a lot on your plate. How do you Filter out Distractions?
For a while, I was extremely busy doing freelance development. You want to help out friends and all, but it’s time consuming and ultimately you have to learn to say no to the things that aren’t integral to executing on your passion. Alex and i were also working on other startups that we ultimately filtered out to focus on one. Once we consciously made this choice as a team, Fetchnotes started seriously gaining traction.
See video of Chase accepting his award here: