Jared Kleinert is the kind of guy you meet and instantly adore.
His warm, goofy smile and kick-ass determination to do good is an inspiration to people everywhere. At only 17-years-old, he is the CEO of a start-up called Synergist, a social network designed to connect passionate entrepreneurs and support them with tools for creating change.
I had the honour of interviewing him live today, and introduce him to you with great pleasure!
Sufey: 5-4-3-2-1… We are live! Jared, can you introduce yourself and tell us what Synergist is all about?
Jared: Hello! I’m a 17-year old social entrepreneur in South Florida. Synergist is a crowd-sourcing site for social entrepreneurs to create, collaborate and share movements and enterprises. It’s really just about bringing people together for social good. It kind of started with the Occupy Wall Street Movement, we’re looking for those kinds of movements. The whole point is to connect people to innovate in a useful way and actually get things done; for people from all different walks of life to come together and make change.
Sufey: Cool! So how do you make this happen?
Jared: People can post an idea in the “Create” section, or if they have an idea they want to test out and need team members (i.e. a web developer), they can find that. Once they make a team, they can move to “Collaborate”, which is a free online workspace for people to build up their idea. Finally, they move to “Share”, which is a crowd-sourcing platform like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo to raise money for their ideas.
Sufey: Awesome. You’re one of the first crowd-sourcing sites to crowd-source your own site, aren’t you?
Jared: Yeah! Yeah, we’re one of the first at the intersection of crowd-sourcing social good, very socially-driven. It’s really exciting: Fast Company called it recursive crowd-sourcing, very meta-idea, lean start-up like, we’ll see if it works!
Sufey: So at 17, what are some of the challenges of doing this?
Jared: Well, something you really don’t like is the fact that I don’t get much sleep. ;) Another challenge is the social life in high school. I tend to look more towards the Under 20 community and UnCollege network more for friends- I can relate more to kids like you and me who are doing things at a very young age.
Sufey: Absolutely. What kind of advice would you give to another entrepreneur that’s just starting out?
Jared: Never give up. Entrepreneurship is just perseverance. It doesn’t matter if you start at a young or old age, you’re going to run into problems; it’s natural. There’s never going to be a perfect day. Just persevere, and good things will happen.
Become friends with as many different people as possible. Everyone can offer you something, so never take anyone for granted. Try not to stereotype, just be a friendly person.
Sufey: I love that! Who inspires you in this world?
Jared: My mentor is David Hassel from 15Five, a company I work for in the Silicon Valley. People like Elon Musk inspire me, he juggles two billion dollar businesses and thinks about game-changing plans like electric cars and space missions, which is pretty cool.
I would say the biggest inspiration is my mother. I see how hard she works on a daily basis trying to raise me and my brother. She’s an extremely bright women, entrepreneurial, but she’s trapped in – a good job, but – a somewhat normal life. I want to scale my efforts and make a name for myself, so she’s really my biggest motivation and biggest supporter. I know it sounds cheesy, but it really starts there.
Synergist launches TOMORROW, April 27th, so check ‘em out here and send some love to society’s youngest entrepreneurs.
For more on Jared, check out his features in Forbes, Fast Company, Tech Crunch, Shark Tank Blog, Small Businesses Do it Better and follow him on Twitter.
If you send Synergist a picture or video of your own synergist movement through Facebook or Twitter, they’ll send you an epic t-shirt too. ;)
Kudos and good luck, Jared. The world needs great people like you!