Article in Startup category.

The Next Zuckerberg? 19 Year Old Cory Levy Snags 1 Million in Funding for Social Startup

While Facebook has proven itself to be a useful tool for staying in touch with people we already know, it’s much more difficult to break…

While Facebook has proven itself to be a useful tool for staying in touch with people we already know, it’s much more difficult to break the ice and connect with strangers around us.  One, the brainchild of 19 year old Cory Levy seeks to do just that, positioning itself as a mobile app that notifies you when people around you share your interests.  Levy envisions a future that is devoid of missed connections; one in which fate is no longer an elusive mystery, but rather the product of a few timely clicks and swipes.  Like Facebook, One plans to attract a user base by marketing itself to an exclusive pool of users who share the benefit of physical proximity.  College campuses couldn’t be more perfect.  Levy plans to launch One later this month at UC Berkeley, strategically after students have signed up for classes and extracurricular activities.  After Berkeley, he plans to extend One’s influence to the University of Texas and the University of Ilinois.

A Different Kind of Kid

An enigmatic combination of charisma, youth and focus, Levy has, of course, drawn comparisons to Mark Zuckerberg. Recruited by the University of Illinois for his entrepreneurial prowess, Levy studied under the guidance of Paul Magelli, the senior director of the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership.  In an interview with Venture Beat, Magelli remarked, “I’ve been teaching for 57 years and you wonder when in your career you’ll get a Cory. He makes you rethink the proposition as to whether entrepreneurs are born or made.”  With internships at Union Square Ventures, Founders Fund, and TechStars under his belt, Levy is also precociously experienced.  Whether or not you believe in a tabula rasa, it appears that, at least in this case, an entrepreneur was born and not made.


One wants to eliminate the use of smart phones as a tool for appeasing loneliness in public, and instead capitalize on the need for connection in a way that will help people forge new relationships.  Ideally, it hopes to become the ice breaker that makes it socially acceptable to initiate a conversation with a stranger.  However, it also intends to become a tool for discovery, suggesting new topics for users to delve into based on their current preferences.  Co-founder Michael Callahan believes it will help people bond based on obscure mutual interests, addressing the long-tail of connection. With One, Levy and Callahan seem to be hot on the heels of a tool that will show us that we’re all much more similar than we could ever imagine.

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