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The FORT with Chris Powers

Dec 31, 2020

Abraham Shafi is the Co-Founder and CEO of, one of the fastest growing social networking apps in the world.  IRL was founded along with Henry Khachatryan and PayPal’s first board member Scott Banister. "IRL: Do More Together" has raised a total of $11 million in funding, with five investors backing up the company. The company's goal is to provide a place to discover events and allow users to do those things with other people.

On this episode, Chris and Abraham discuss his rise in the tech world after dropping out of college, his previous venture being acquired by Dice, organic growth best practices, working with venture capitalists, how COVID has impacted IRL, and much more. Enjoy! 

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(02:19) - Abe’s Story

(08:38) - When did you formulate the plan for IRL and take the leap?

(12:21) - Did you raise VC for IRL? Are you a technical or non-technical founder?

(14:18) - What impact did your co-founder Scott have on the company?

(17:04) - Are there best practices that come to mind when talking about organic growth?

(19:41) - What is IRL? How would you describe it to someone about to download the app?

(21:44) - How do you publish events on the platform?

(25:05) - How would this be different from something like Twitch?

(26:03) - Is there anything that stands out about how people have used the product differently than you imagined?

(27:37) - How has COVID impacted you & IRL either positively or negatively?

(30:40) - Is there data showing pent-up demand for people to get back into the world?

(32:28) - How does your college ambassador program work? Why did you implement it?

(36:39) - Is there a unique way someone has used the platform during COVID that was really inspiring?

(37:37) - What was your experience raising a series-B during 2020 given the unique challenges of the year?

(38:42) - What makes a great Venture Capitalist?

(40:59) - How is leadership considered when different VC’s lead different rounds of funding? 

(43:00) - What would you tell first-time founders as they deliberate who to approach for raising funds?

(44:40) - What is your opinion on the state of social media? How do you think we can get back to it being a positive thing?

(52:07) - Do you have a childhood experience that’s shaped who you are today?

(57:26) - Do you have a morning routine?

(58:16) - Are some of San Francisco’s brightest days ahead?

(1:00:51) - What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

(1:03:16) - What's the best book you’ve ever read?

The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh

(1:06:54) - If you had a billboard that you could put anything on, what would it say?

(1:09:12) - How can people find you?

The FORT with Chris Powers is produced by Straight Up Podcasts