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U of T undergraduate entrepreneurs sell web services startup

Chime aggregates tweets, Facebook notifications, emails

Undergraduate students Fahd Ananta, Guru Mahendran and Thariq Shihipar have sold their web services aggregator startup to Hubspot (photo by Ben Ouyang)

Three University of Toronto undergraduate students with a passion for entrepreneurship are packing their bags for Cambridge, Massachusetts after selling their startup company for an undisclosed sum.

About a year ago, Fahd Ananta (Computer Science), Guru Mahendran (Engineering: Aerospace), and Thariq Shihipar (Engineering: Electrical & Computer Engineering), began developing a web services aggregator, Chime.

Officially launched in January of this year and available on the Google Chrome browser, Chime offers users one place where they can access all of their Facebook notifications, e-mails, Tweets, etc., in a stream of real time updates.

The product has been met with a great deal of excitement, gaining almost 30,000 users since it first launched. Hubspot, which describes itself as an inbound marketing software company, took notice. On March 28, Hubspot announced it had acquired Chime and another early-stage technology company based in New Haven, PrepWork.

"We sought out innovative companies who could help us continue to transform the marketing landscape," said HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan, "and both Chime and PrepWork embody those characteristics."

Fahd, Guru and Thariq will move to the Hubspot headquarters in Cambridge by the end of spring. The trio,who met at a DemoCamp event on U of T’s St. George campus, cited the growing climate of entrepreneurship at U of T and  the general atmosphere of the university as supporting factors for their success.

“The student environment and culture were probably the most influential,” said Fahd, who encouraged young entrepreneurs to have confidence in their own concepts. 

“It’s always the right time to get started," Fahd said. "If you have an idea, build it now and sweat the details later. Get involved with the Toronto startup community and make connections… If you have no idea where to start, get a Github account to start hacking away on side projects - and follow Hacker News.”

Thariq echoed the sentiment.

“The talent, innovation, and drive to succeed at the university [creates] an amazing place to grow ideas and stay motivated.” Thariq said, “Guru and I took the [Engineering] entrepreneurship course, 488 series, and that was very helpful.”

While the group wasn’t able to use Engineering’s recently launched Hatchery incubator, Thariq said, “If it had been around when we were in second or third year, we would have definitely made use of it; it’s going to be a great resource for current undergrads!”