The Real TechStars of New York

Shelby.tv, of TechStars Reality Show Fame, Launches Its Web Video Channel with Apps for the iPhone and iPad

How are videos prioritized?

Right now its chronological, but we’re just starting to reprioritize. And part of that is we need the data from users. So as you watch, it’ll get smarter about what’s relevant to you. We use crazy algorithms that are developed by people that are smarter than me. My team is really strong, all of our engineers are really smart guys.

Where are you guys working out of now?

We have our own office at 23rd and Park and it’s actually pretty awesome.

What’s the startup decor?

We have a ping pong table and we laid down 300 sq. ft. of turf underneath it, so everyone plays barefoot and kind of hangs out around on the ping pong table. And then we’ve got a drum set and guitars and a big speaker system to actually jam because we all play music as well. It’s pretty fun on a Friday night, we’ll be working and then a few guys will pop on the instruments play for awhile, drink a beer, and then go back to work and then play some more later on.

What kind of music do you play?

Mostly death metal.

For real?

[Laughs] It depends who’s on guitar. One of our guys Chris actually does play a lot of metal and, like, classic rock and stuff. Miles plays a little more jazzy guitar and some kind of funky little notes. I tend to play more straight-ahead alterna-rock, indie—mostly stuff I learned in the 90’s when I was learning how to play guitar.

What’s your go-to song?

Lately we’ve been playing Weezer “Say It Aint’ So.” We we don’t really rehearse that much, so we’re trying to get good at one or two songs. We’ve been playing a lot of Weezer, some Hendrix, and then some Metallica. The office is on the 10th floor, so we have skyline the whole way. It’s really nice natural light. We’re sharing space, we brought in Charming Robots, this stealthy little design company. It’s a fun spot.

How big is your team?

We’re almost 10. We’re adding two soon, so like crazypants. Five and half engineers.

The show made it seem like your strength didn’t lie in the technical side.

Me personally? What’re you trying to say, huh?

I’m not trying to say anything!

No, I mean so my co-founder Dan has been my best friend since college and he’ll make the joke that he’s the most efficient networker ever, because he knows me and I know everybody else. That’s always been our strength. When he played lacrosse in college, he couldn’t even remember the kids in his department’s name, let alone the guys who were on our team. So he’s focused on building things, just a great technical mind. My strength is getting to know people, getting to know the right biz dev contacts or investor contacts and his strength is building technically. Together we have a very strong product sense. For me to be able to go out and raise money and get him the resources he needs to build the product—that gives me the scale of users and product value so I can go out and find the brands you want to use it. Up and down and around, like a carousel.

So are you looking too get more funding or partnerships with brands?

Right now we’re just all about building the product.

How did you come up with the name? I was always curious about that.

What we love about it is that it’s a human name. It’s a person and it gets to know you, but the name actually comes from the Shelby Cobra, the classic American race car. And when we were brainstorming the idea, we named it Project Shelby and we really loved the name and decided to go with it. And it was available! At the end of the day, you go with domain that’s available that you like.

And short, right?

Yeah, two syllables and easy to spell.

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com