Meet GroupMe, The Hottest Startup In New York (PHOTO TOUR)

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GroupMe, the hot mobile startup based in New York City, is gearing up for a huge spring.

(GroupMe lets groups of people quickly and easily text-message each other. It’s a simple idea, but no one does it as well. And the opportunity for growth through the network effect is giant. Definitely pay attention to these guys!)

The young company just announced four new hires this week, bringing the team’s size to 13.

And while GroupMe is already becoming quite popular — delivering around a million text messages per day — the team is hard at work on secret new versions of its apps, to make a big splash at the South by Southwest conference in Austin next month.

The conference — sort of an annual Spring Break for geeks — has helped companies like Twitter and Foursquare become very popular, very quickly, among the tech set. This year, it’s a huge opportunity for GroupMe to add influential users, in part because the service is such a natural fit for conferences. So now is a busy time for the company.

We recently stopped by GroupMe’s New York headquarters to meet the team.

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title=”Hey! It’s GroupMe cofounder Jared Hecht! This is the office space they share with Jumo (Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes’ new company) in Manhattan’s SoHo neighbourhood.”
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title=”We arrive to a meeting of the minds… the server team (left) talking to the iPhone team (right). From left to right, GroupMe engineers Brandon Keene, Dave Yeu, Cameron Hunt, and Jeremy Schoenherr.”
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title=”Geoff Hackett is GroupMe’s new Android developer. He has been developing for Android forever, including creating a NYC Bus & Subway Maps app.”
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title=”iPhone engineer Jeremy Schoenherr (right) used to work for Hot Potato and MLB Advanced Media, where he worked on the awesome At Bat app, and demoed it on stage during Steve Jobs’ WWDC keynote in 2008.”
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title=”iPhone engineer Cameron Hunt teamed up with Adam “Lonelysandwich” Lisagor on a cool Twitter iPhone app called Birdhouse in 2009.”
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title=”Engineer Dave Yeu is one of a few GroupMe team members hired away from the respected Pivotal Labs. He also used to work at Limewire.”
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permalink=”intern-zack-sims-helps-out-on-business-and-product-development-he-interned-at-aol-ventures-last-summer-7″
title=”Intern Zack Sims helps out on business and product development. He interned at AOL Ventures last summer!”
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[slide
permalink=”front-end-engineer-chris-connolly-recently-joined-the-company-from-gilt-groupe-where-cofounder-steve-martocci-used-to-work-in-his-spare-time-chris-runs-vampire-weekends-website-8″
title=”Front-end engineer Chris Connolly recently joined the company from Gilt Groupe, where cofounder Steve Martocci used to work. In his spare time, Chris runs Vampire Weekend’s website.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4d5052d74bd7c88a23030000″
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permalink=”steve-cheney-columbia-mba-is-groupmes-first-full-time-biz-dev-employee-and-one-of-its-three-steves-you-may-recognize-his-name-he-has-been-a-sai-and-techcrunch-contributor-and-is-visible-in-the-new-york-tech-community-9″
title=”Steve Cheney, Columbia MBA, is GroupMe’s first full-time biz dev employee, and one of its three Steves. You may recognise his name — he has been a SAI and TechCrunch contributor, and is visible in the New York tech community.”
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permalink=”groupme-cofounder-steve-martocci-left-and-engineer-chris-connolly-right-discuss-how-theyre-going-to-get-cofounder-jared-hecht-center-to-start-wearing-a-hat-around-the-office-10″
title=”GroupMe cofounder Steve Martocci (left) and engineer Chris Connolly (right) discuss how they’re going to get cofounder Jared Hecht (centre) to start wearing a hat around the office.”
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permalink=”martocci-takes-us-for-a-tour-heres-the-pivotal-squirrel-which-has-its-own-twitter-account-and-a-crunchie-award-which-groupme-definitely-did-not-win-11″
title=”Martocci takes us for a tour. Here’s the “Pivotal Squirrel” (which has its own Twitter account) and a Crunchie award, which GroupMe definitely did not win.”
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[slide
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title=”There is a cryptic post on GroupMe’s blog about the “Secret Crunchie,” which doesn’t actually help us figure out how they got it. But here it is!”
content=”Here’s the blog post. Maybe you can help us figure it out.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4d5052ef49e2aec316230000″
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[slide
permalink=”groupmes-steve-martocci-explains-pivotal-squirrel-used-to-be-the-mascot-of-the-pivotal-labs–techstars-office-until-we-liberated-him-for-unsafe-working-conditions-the-squirrel-is-hard-at-work-on-our-international-strategy-and-was-extremely-upset-when-he-realized-that-fresh-direct-wouldnt-deliver-acorns-dont-believe-what-you-read-on-the-pivotalsquirrel-twitter-account-he-is-in-a-much-better-place-13″
title=”GroupMe’s Steve Martocci explains: “Pivotal Squirrel used to be the mascot of the Pivotal Labs / TechStars office until we liberated him for unsafe working conditions. The Squirrel is hard at work on our international strategy and was extremely upset when he realised that Fresh Direct wouldn’t deliver acorns. Don’t believe what you read on the @pivotalsquirrel twitter account. He is in a much better place.””
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[slide
permalink=”martocci-also-has-a-collection-of-simpsons-toys-under-his-computer-monitor-we-all-want-to-be-as-cool-as-disco-stu-14″
title=”Martocci also has a collection of Simpsons toys under his computer monitor. “We all want to be as cool as Disco Stu.””
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4d50530049e2ae6f29040000″
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[slide
permalink=”and-here-he-is-with-a-stuffed-dog-part-of-my-halloween-costume-i-was-zach-galifianakiss-character-in-due-date-the-week-before-it-came-out-it-was-awesome-because-ny-was-plastered-with-ads-for-the-movie-so-people-got-it-even-though-they-never-saw-the-movie-15″
title=”And here he is with a stuffed dog! “Part of my Halloween costume. I was Zach Galifianakis’s character in Due Date, the week before it came out. It was awesome because NY was plastered with ads for the movie so people got it even though they never saw the movie.””
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[slide
permalink=”steve-says-it-was-crucially-important-to-him-that-groupme-had-a-great-work-environment-for-engineers-he-seems-to-be-succeeding-16″
title=”Steve says it was crucially important to him that GroupMe had a great work environment for engineers. He seems to be succeeding.”
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title=”Obligatory startup kitchen shot!”
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title=”Here’s the meeting area in back.”
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title=”A neat SoHo view out the back window.”
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title=”Meeting area, complete with AT&T M-Cell to fight terrible Manhattan iPhone reception.”
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title=”One more shot of the mystery Crunchie and its archnemesis.”
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title=”There’s Jumo’s side of the office.”
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permalink=”blah-blah-blah-23″
title=”Blah blah blah.”
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[slide
permalink=”and-thats-it-24″
title=”And that’s it!”
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[slide
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title=”How about another “Group-” startup tour?”
content=”Click here to tour Groupon, the wackiest startup we’ve ever been to →
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