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Build In Public: ⭐️ Spotlight Edition ⭐️ (Rehan Choudhry)

Build In Public: ⭐️ Spotlight Edition ⭐️ (Rehan Choudhry)
By KP • Issue #33 • View online
Hi everyone, welcome to the latest Spotlight edition of the Build In Public newsletter. In this recurring Spotlight series, I invite and interview an ambitious startup founder each round to unpack lessons, insights and actionable advice from their story that can be helpful in your own journey. 
In today’s edition, I am thrilled to feature Rehan Choudhry, Founder of Chptr.
Rehan reached out to me first a few weeks ago through a cold Twitter DM (Flash news: Cold DMs still work!) and shared an early version of his product: Chptr.
Chptr is an app/platform that helps you gather, share, and hold memories of your lost loved ones.
When I saw the website and the messaging, I was hooked instantly.
Because I don’t think I know anyone else who’s building for this particular use-case and in this particular niche. Grief is a heavy emotion that’s often experienced quietly or in solitude and can sometimes be difficult to orient around. Not many tech platforms cater to helping you process this well and also celebrate your loved one. Chptr is tackling this very important problem and I’m impressed.
As I got more curious about Chptr and Rehan’s backstory, I invited him for an interview and encouraged him to reflect on his journey and lessons learned. Below is my conversation with Rehan:
Btw, today is a special day for Chptr. A few hours ago, they came out of private beta and are now live on Product Hunt. Check out the launch and feel free to share your thoughts, feedback or comments on PH. Link below 👇🏼

A Conversation With Rehan Choudhry ☕️
KP: Who are you and what’s your background? 
RC: My name is Rehan Choudhry and I’m the co-founder and CEO of Chptr, a memorialization platform for lost loved ones. I am also the founder of Life is Beautiful, a top music festival based out of Las Vegas, Nevada.
I’m a 42 year old 4-time founder and father of two young children with my spouse, CBS news anchor Jessica Moore. We’re based out of New York City and spend our free time at various playgrounds in the city getting the kids energy out.
I am a first-generation American Pakistani and the son of two immigrant parents.
I previously was the head of entertainment for The Cosmopolitan, regional head of marketing for Caesars Entertainment, and a Consultant for the Department of of Homeland Security.
KP: How would you describe what you are building currently?
RC: I am 100% focused on building Chptr, a digital memorial platform for lost loved ones. We are working to democratize access to memorialization through a mobile-first community crowdsourcing platform. It is a place for people who have lost a loved one to come together and build their legacy through the memories they have of that person.  
KP: What was the inflection point that led to starting this company?  
RC: My wife and I were quarantined in our New York apartment early in 2020 when she began creating memorial tribute videos for the first COVID victims in the city. This was very early in the pandemic and, to do so, she had to find each victim, connect with the community they left behind, and rebuild their story in a 60-second short video. I had a front-row seat to the entire process and realized pretty quickly that a lot of people were struggling out there, grieving alone as they worked to reconcile what life was going to look like without their person in it. I wanted to help. 
KP: How did you find your co-founder or your 1st employee to work on this mission? 
RC: My friend Perfecto and my wife are both co-founding advisors for the company. I’ve known Perfecto for a decade. Our first team members were Nick Kislinger (who I had worked with in the past) and Ingrid Blakey who I unexpectedly (and thankfully) found on LinkedIN. 
KP: What’s a recent milestone you’re excited about? 
RC: We launched Chptr on the App Store and Google Play 30 days ago to incredible early results. We have received incredibly positive reviews from our users and have helped over 400 people build memorials for their loved ones. 
KP: Who is an ideal fit for your current version of the product? (Ideal Customer Profile) And who else do you aim to serve in the future?  
RC: Our ideal user is 25 - 45 years old and has recently lost a loved one in the last 6 months. But it doesn’t really end there. We are working with users 20 - 85 years old who are memorializing loved ones who passed as many as 15 years ago. It’s a beautiful thing to realize that the need for remembrance support doesn’t have an expiration date, so there are an incredibly large number of people we can support.  
KP: What features stand out to you as super beneficial to your customers/users? What makes your product better than the alternatives?
RC: We are a mobile first UGC platform that focuses on users drawing out and recording their smallest memories. It’s a place to talk about the time you and your person got locked out of your car in the rain, or about a walk you took, or a restaurant you tried. No memory is too small because, when threaded together along with the memories of a community of grieving loved ones, the impact of someone’s existence quickly emerges in a beautiful way. We are a modern approach to remembrance, the first in decades. 
KP: What are some interesting trends you’re seeing related to your sector/market? 
RC: For the last 100 years the industry believed that 65 year olds were memorializing 85 year olds. So when you look at legacy platforms, it’s no surprise that they all feel a bit dated. Sunsets, clouds, and old couples walking down the beach holding hands are the standard images across the industry. When you look at the data, another story emerges. Today, 25 - 45 year olds account for the vast majority of users leading memorialization efforts. The industry just got their audience wrong. 
KP: What is one tip on building a startup you’d give your younger self from 4-5 years ago?
RC: There is a difference between building a business and feeling like you are working a lot. Here’s what I mean… spending 18 hours a day creating cool videos, social posts, or throwing parties can feel like you’re grinding for the greater good. But those things are short-term ways of exhausting you and making you feel like progress is being made because you’re getting validation in the form of likes or pats on the back. The truth is, those things distract you from what really needs to be done. It’s easy to sit alone and piece together a sizzle reel. It’s really hard to go outside, setup a table in the middle of a busy neighborhood, and start conversations with every single person who walks by, promoting your product. New founders gravitate towards the flashy things and ignore the grind that actually drives your business forward. I made that mistake in the past. Never again. 
KP: Where can people find you on the Internet?
KP: Where can people find your newest product launch/release?
Thank you for reading! Please share this with your friends on Twitter/Linkedin or if you have any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to hit reply :)
Full disclosure: This is a paid feature. If you’re interested in being part of this series, please hit reply or DM me for further info.
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