Our Diverse Web3 Builders series features Black, Latinx, and Women founders who are creating startups in the web3 space. On this episode we have Monte Applewhite from GoSayHELLO, a web3-enabled startup that allows their users to discover nearby people, businesses, and events with similar interests within a minute’s walk.
Monte began his engineering journey working on cars with his father in North Carolina. He graduated from North Carolina A&T with a mechanical engineering degree, but the automakers were not hiring after the 2008 financial crisis. Monte instead started his career in occupational engineering at Georgia Pacific and then the Southern Companies. He next joined EY’s Sustainability Services group in 2020, which gave him his first introduction to blockchain technology. Around this time, Monte purchased his first Cryptocurrencies.
During COVID, Monte was attending events in Atlanta that were socially distanced and masked up. He found it hard to meet people and strike up new conversations in this environment. This sparked the idea for GoSayHELLO. Monte grew up in an entrepreneurial family with a grandfather that ran a dental lab small business and a father that ran multiple side hustles. This inspired him to take the leap into startup life and launch this new initiative.
After researching other apps that facilitated connections, he found a gap in the marketplace. Some apps did a good job connecting people, but they were not focused on doing so at in-person gatherings. Dating apps like Bumble were doing some friend introductions, but Monte quickly learned this solution was not resonating with users. After this deep customer discovery, he decided to build something that gave users freedom to find people nearby with common interests.
Monte got rolling in April 2021 by creating wire frames and screen shots for his vision of GoSayHELLO. He knew he needed funding to bring his vision to life. Monte had an idea for an incentive Crypto token, so he began researching Layer 1 blockchains that might be a good fit. He found his way to Algorand, who were looking to back web3 social apps. Monte applied for and earned a significant grant from Algorand, which got the business started.
With some capital in the bank, Monte took to Upwork and Fiverr to find developers to take his rudimentary wire frames and create the app. By October 2022, the first version of the app was live and GoSayHELLO organized a Halloween party to allow people in masks to meet others at the event. This gave Monte and the team lots of learnings to make improvements to the experience.
Their second big event was a community painting event on the Atlanta Beltline. The event went viral within the app and over 2,500 people showed up to a small park with only one bathroom, leading to the city shutting them down. GoSayHELLO learned a bunch more from this event, and they knew they were onto a great idea. GoSayHELLO is now focused on partnering with apartment buildings and local restaurants and retail businesses to provide value around events.
If you are inspired by Monte’s story, he would love to connect with you. He is looking for individuals in target cities to spin up the app and act as community ambassadors. If you manage an apartment complex or a retail business, he wants to partner with you to drive more traffic. GoSayHELLO is also looking for investors to help fund the next phase of growth for the business. Please watch the video interview here. You can also listen to the audio version on Apple, Spotify, or our website.
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