TEC Alumni Series: Keith Schacht's Status
TEC News Stories
1/18/2012 4:13:00 PM
By: Lyndsey Taylor
Urbana, Ill.---Jan. 18, 2012---Keith Schacht, former University of Illinois student, has taken his passion for computer science and recently applied it to social networking in San Francisco, Calif.
Schacht is the current product manager for News Feed on Facebook.
“I like understanding new technology and applying them for everyday people. Facebook is the most interesting thing to me because it has such a profound impact on how people keep in touch and have relationships,” he said.
Although he's only been with the site for about a year, he's been creating applications for them for years.
Facebook sought out startup companies to create applications for the site. Schacht's venture, Crafted Fun, was picked up.
Crafted Fun was created in 2007 and is a “fun, social application” used for virtual gifting on Facebook. The application was acquired by a game company in May 2010.
Once Crafted Fun launched on Facebook, the application had about 1 million users within the first week, Schacht said.
“At Facebook, every day I have new ideas or something new that I want to start,” he said. “The most fun part is that it's challenging. The whole process is challenging, but that's what makes it fun.”
Prior to Crafted Fun, he teamed up with TEC alumnus, Zach Kaplan, to work on Inventables, a web site created for innovators to purchase prototype materials.
The site carries specific sizes of materials innovators may need in small quantities.
Schacht met Kaplan at the V. Dale Cozad New Venture Competition reception at Illinois in Spring 2000. Schacht worked with Inventables until 2006 and then began to create prototypes of different types of applications. Schacht also created Enchanted Island, a “light role-playing” game through Facebook.
Schacht worked on several business ventures prior to Illinois, including a computer-building company. In addition to Inventables, he and Kaplan started a consulting company called Lever Works.
Schacht studied computer science at the University of Illinois and got involved with the Technology Entrepreneur Center the first year it started in 2000.
“The most notable thing that TEC did was that it gave me access to the first people who cared about startups and likewise for the people they brought in,” he said.
“One of the first things you need to do before starting a company, is to meet someone who has started a company,” he added.
Schacht said meeting entrepreneurs and other students who were interested in similar innovation and business ideas was helpful for him in getting a feel for the industry.
In the future, he hopes to pursue and build the “long list” of ideas he has.