Personalizing Your Reality: Interview with One App Co-Founder Cory Levy

by / ⠀Entrepreneur Interviews Entrepreneurship / July 31, 2013

Cory Levy Picture Smaller

A man walks into a bar and his favorite song starts playing. Someone yells “Go Bears!” his favorite football team, and a beautiful woman approaches and starts talking about their favorite TV show.  The man has never been to the bar before, but everything falls into place just like he was in an odd, but fantastic scene from a movie.

Is this a fantasy, or could it be a future reality?

According to One Application co-founder Cory Levy, they are “personalizing your reality” to bring these perfect scenarios to life. One is a mobile application that was founded based on the idea of connecting people around interests and location.  Using your personal information, One links you to people with similar interests and in the future, will be able to customize your experiences based on what you like.  The most powerful aspect of the application may be its ability to point out people who are right next to you that you should know.

“People didn’t have a way to connect with people that they don’t know yet that they should.”

Co-founder Michael Callahan was walking down Market Street in San Francisco and had 3 hours in between meetings.  While walking around he saw a group of three people in front of him that looked like long lost friends, but they had never met.  The group walked past Michael and they both did a double take, but they kept on walking.  How many chance encounters have you had that turned out to change your life?  How many near introductions and opportunities have you missed due to turning the wrong way or not introducing yourself to someone?  As Cory said, “We don’t have control over all of the chance and serendipitous moments.” One is trying to change that while personalizing aspects of life around a person’s interests.

See also  Your Business Partner is Not Working – What to Do?

After taking the advice of alumni, Cory chose to attend the University of Illinois, where he met co-founder Michael Callahan.  After raising 1 million in venture capital at the age of 19, Cory Levy left school and moved to San Francisco to focus on building the company with Michael, and hasn’t looked back.  “This is what I would want to do when I graduate and a once in a lifetime opportunity.”  Asked if he had any regrets about leaving school, Cory said, “I would have regretted not doing this.”

After attaining early success and being able to capitalize off of chance encounters, Cory and the One Application look to assist others in meeting people and making connections that will change their lives.

Listen to the full audio interview below.

Interview Highlights

– How One is trying to personalize your world.

– Thoughts on raising capital, including why to always raise capital.

– Act as if you aren’t funded: “We’re still in an apartment turned into an office with 8-9 people.”

Cory’s best piece of advice to young entrepreneurs: “Surround yourself with your heroes, people who you aspire to be.”

– How Cory was able to learn from some of the best incubators and accelerators in the country.

– Why Cory left the University of Illinois to work on One.

– On whether someone should drop out of school to pursue a business opportunity, “If you have a once in a lifetime opportunity, take it.” “You can always go back to school.”

Quick Fire Questions

If you couldn’t be an entrepreneur, what would be your profession?  Growing up, firefighter or a doctor. When I was 12 or 13, I knew that being an entrepreneur was going to be the path I would take.

See also  30 Young Entrepreneur Interviews You May Have Missed in 2012

What will Cory Levy be working on 10 years from today?  Hopefully we’ll be the largest tech company in the world.

Your favorite thing to do to relax? Workout, play tennis, read a book.

Favorite alcoholic drink?  Not a big drinker, but if I have to choose, vodka tonic.

Favorite musician? Drake

Coolest celebrity you’ve ever met? Justin Timberlake and Victoria Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio.

If you could have one entrepreneur in the world join your team, who would it be? Ray Kurzweil or Jeff Hawkins (Palm Computing).

Listen to the full interview here:


About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


Get Funded Faster!

Proven Pitch Deck

Signup for our newsletter to get access to our proven pitch deck template.