Matt Shumer started his first business at the age of twelve, selling shoes in an online marketplace. An entrepreneur from the start, he soon realized his interest was not only in creating the products, but in the marketing and business that his venture required.
Matt continued his pursuit of entrepreneurship working with the Blackstone LaunchPad and Techstars when he started as a Syracuse University student in the Whitman School of Management as a freshman in 2018. He quickly became a Rubin Family Innovation Mentor at the LaunchPad and he launched Visos, a company that integrated virtual reality into healthcare. As he was networking to build and launch his venture, communicating constantly with investors, mentors, industry experts and others in the field, Matt noticed that the task of writing dozens of emails a day was bogging down his productivity. To address this problem, he started working with artificial intelligence (AI) software that could use key words and phrases to construct full, well-written emails. What started as a tool to improve networking for one venture became a dynamic new venture of its own.
Matt realized the potential of an AI-powered email service and soon co-founded OthersideAI. The software, more refined now, can take a short list of phrases and turn them into a full-fledged correspondence (a demo can be found on their website). OthersideAI is built on the principle of redefining the way we communicate digitally. Matt believes that texting and emailing take up too much time in our daily lives, especially as the information communicated on these platforms is often mundane, repetitive or simple in nature. According to him, video chatting, calling, and in-person meetings are much more worthy of our time. OthersideAI allows email, a platform that ostensibly hasn’t changed since its invention, to take a back seat in a person’s daily schedule to allow more time for engaging communication technologies.
In the future, Matt has a number of plans to further improve the conventional system of email and other communications technologies. “I can envision a future where you don’t have to write emails or wait for a response.” According to Matt, while the tech needed to make this happen is starting to be built, it will take a few years for it to become cost effective enough to be used on a large scale.
Matt says the secret to successful entrepreneurship all comes down to one thing. “It’s all about getting started.” He recalls the starting point of projects he has worked on in the past where the barrier to entry seemed insurmountable. However, his biggest piece of advice is to just dive in, and not worry about the things you don’t know how to do yet. “Find people that know how to do what you don’t. It doesn’t have to be all you all the time,” Matt says. Managing a project is about knowing your strengths and, when you hit a weak spot, asking for help instead of just giving up or putting it off.
When their first OthersideAI demo launched on Twitter, buzz about OthersideAI spread like wildfire, getting mentions in the New York Times, to Fortune, and by Chris Sacca of the hit show Shark Tank, OthersideAI was an instant hit. However, the development team is far from finished. Each week they add new features to the product, and users are joining the waitlist by the thousands.
Matt, the CEO and co-founder, as well as the rest of the OthersideAI team, have a bright future ahead. With serious investors on the horizon, they already have some exciting plans to further develop their new business as it continues to grow traction and users. As they update and add features to their model, they will continue to redefine communication as we know it.
Story by Ellen Jorgensen ’23, LaunchPad Orange Ambassador; photo supplied