by Julie Schoen
“What is URIJI, exactly?” I found myself asking this question after a suggestion was made for me to check out this new app, a digital platform many are calling the new wave of social media. As someone who makes a living staying on trend, I knew that downloading the URIJI app to my phone was a must.
But there was something else about it that intrigued me on a deeper level. Created with a social mission to bring good people together, a place where people from around the world can share and realize dreams, URIJI, I thought, could very well be the antithesis to what much of social media has become. Void of a constantly updated feed of selfies and perfectly manicured photographs, URIJI is a breath of fresh air and, maybe most importantly, a glimpse into the very human side of new digital companies.
What Is URIJI?
So what is URIJI exactly? Good question. While much of the hype is exciting, it can leave a lot to the imagination. The company’s slogan, “Made by Life”, could very well be used for a variety of companies, including cars, home builders, camping tents — you name it. And while the vagueness of the company could initially be found dismissive, the energy behind the people talking about it makes you want to look closer.
A kind of, “What kind of digital drug are they on?” question incites curiosity.
In a recent article published by TheNextWeb.com, URIJI is described as “a place for users to share their dreams and stories”. The article goes on to say that “this social network emphasizes a focus on the future, so that users’ posts are garnered towards talking about and fulfilling their dreams and projects, rather than towards simply collecting ‘likes’ without gaining any future benefit from interacting on the network.”
For the millions of social media users that aren’t making a full-time living off of influencer marketing or who aren’t actively promoting their business, URIJI, then, is everything that social media today is not.
Future-focused, URIJI users care less about where they are now and instead focus on where they want to be. The users, therefore, are immediately more intimately connected because from the get-go they are sharing their dreams and visions, rather than just what they ate for lunch or what kind of new car they just purchased.
The idea behind URIJI is to “maximize your potential”, connecting you to others that may be able to help, or at least encourage, you along the way to fulfilling your dreams. Personally, I like to think of it as a less convoluted, less judgmental, and more fun version of Linked-In. And, unlike Linked-In, URIJI celebrates where you are now on your path, not expecting you to list a long collection of degrees, awards, and titles in order to attract attention.
URIJI, after personally spending a week on the app, is fun, personal, and incredibly inspiring.
Who Is Behind Uriji?
The platform is co-founded by Jean Clauteaux, a French-Venezuelan, entrepreneur, visionary, and former gold prospector, and James Aschehoug, a French-British consultant who currently lives in London. Starting in a garage in Clauteaux’s native Venezuela, many onlookers deemed the start-up crazy, considering the crisis that the country is currently in the midst of. But Clauteaux and Aschehoug see beyond what most people see, including Forbes who in 2016 deemed Venezuela one of the “hardest places in the world to be an entrepreneur”.
Watching YouTube videos Clauteaux has created, it’s easy to see why he has quickly become so influential in the highly competitive social media and technology space. Genial and confident, this entrepreneur quickly captures your attention and leaves you wanting more.
What else is on his mind? What is he going to do next?
In his video, “Imagination of Time”, J. Clauteaux talks about the possibility of time travel, likening it to the ability to bring the past to the present through meaningful mementos. If you’re able to manipulate time in this manner, why should it be any different with the future, he muses.
“We can bring dreams to our present day. We can do anything, we just have to imagine more. Imagination makes action possible.”
The creation of the URIJI platform is itself proof of the founders’ belief. Imagination is the key to progress. It’s the key to making the impossible, possible.
In addition to the co-founders, URIJI is fueled by an impressively talented team of designers, developers, and marketers. What started as a small team of three in a garage in 2015 has now become a full-fledged business with a team of twenty — and theres’ no sign that this growth will slow any time soon.
Currently the team works out of the United Kingdom, Caracas and Panama, demonstrating that, like time, space isn’t an object of concern.
Who’s Using It?
As I virtually stepped into the world of URIJI, I was curious to see who I would find on this emerging platform. What kind of stories and dreams would people be sharing? Why exactly are they on URIJI and not somewhere else?
URIJI users share their dreams and stories, but it’s not just a land of “I wish” and “someday”. I was impressed by how proactive so many of the users were — and how successful so many of them have been in achieving what they set out to do.
As I began to explore the app, I was immediately drawn to the stories told by so many of the users. Raw and real, many of the stories took me by surprise, holding my emotions and imagination captive.
Among the many stories was one told by a fourteen-year-old user by the name of Leo. Leo walks you through his day-to-day as he visits cancer patients in the hospital. His passion, driven by the death of one of his young friends, is simultaneously heartbreaking and inspirational. A boy with knowledge well beyond his years, Leo urges us all to remember that happiness is only something that can be found in the present; looking for it in the future or past is fruitless.
Leo’s story, while in juxtaposition to the future-minded mission of the app, demonstrates how powerful the platform is by offering a space filled with kind people who can help others let their guard down. It is through these stories that, I believe, we find hope for the future. By recognizing the humanness in each of us, and by remembering to be kind and conscious each day, we really can impact positive change for tomorrow.
But URIJI doesn’t just stop at good stories.
A true social media platform, the app allows you to connect with like-minded people who don’t just want to give you “likes” or views. Among the many benefits of using URIJI is that you can use it to make money. Users can generate income by selling things, such as their videos of their latest adventure — perhaps to someone who wants to use it on their travel website or for marketing. You can also collect donations to fund your dreams, projects and ideas.
As one user says, “URIJI is crowdfunding with a passionate soul”.
And that passion is exactly what makes URIJI fun to use. Because its users have a real mission and purpose, the energy on the platform is different from that you’d find, say on Instagram or Twitter. Not only do the stories and dreams make you inspired to chase after what it is you really want in life, but the users give you the motivation, inspiration, and, yes, sometimes the funding, to make it all possible.
From running an Ironman race to attending NYU, the goals users share make you ask the question, “What am I going to do next?”
Yes, You Really Will Love It That Much
A habitual Instagram user and Pinterest junkie, the last seven days I surprised myself by opting to check in on URIJI instead. Instead of spending the afternoon “liking” posts of vacations that people were already on, I found myself dreaming with new friends from around the world about where to go to next. And instead of “pinning” the next idea for my kitchen, I began crafting an idea to create a goal on URIJI that would actually make my dreams reality.
The future-minded crowd on URIJI is more welcoming — and they take more action. As an entrepreneur myself, I found myself at home in the community of users.
Rather than feeling like I had wasted an afternoon on social media, I would close the URIJI app feeling accomplished — like I had really done something meaningful. Even if I didn’t fund every goal I came across, I offered my enthusiasm and, sometimes, my advice. And, because the universe loves to reciprocate, I found my posts receiving the same kind of love.
As my week on URIJI began to come to a close, it became clear to me why the founders chose the motto “Made By Life”.
The users on URIJI are crafting their lives on the app, one post, one story, one goal at a time. These movers and shakers aren’t just letting life happen to them, like so many of us fall victim of, they are actually creating them, moment by moment.
And, in case you’re curious, you don’t have to make your dreams and aspirations known to the world through URIJI. If you want, URIJI can be your personal dream board, one that you share only with friends and family who you know will support whatever it is you are after.
I’m a firm believer that anything is possible. And now, surrounded by my new friends on URIJI, I’m even more confident that not only can anything be accomplished, but that the future is here — and it’s in really good hands.
What URIJI Says About the Future
The world has always been full of dreamers. They are the people who have charted new territory, invented the impossible, and changed the way we all live our lives. From inventors to explorers and to teachers and parents that simply dream of a better future for their children, people have, and will continue, to shape their own destiny.
Now, more than ever, we need more than just individuals acting on their own accord. The problems we face, the goals we have, are bigger than ever. This is why a platform like URIJI is so important. It unites like-minded thinkers, dreamers, risk-takers, and adventurers, giving the future the power of numbers.
Rather than just experiencing life and sharing it one post at a time, URIJI puts power behind every action you take, valorizing your experiences and giving you the tools necessary to pursue your future.
More human than it is technological, URIJI reminds you of the sometimes overlooked positive side of advancements in technology. Social media, although it often gets a bad reputation, really should be an uplifting experience. There should be power in the ability for humans to interact in real time from anywhere in the world.
And URIJI puts that power directly into your hands.
The users on this growing platform are diverse in location, race, nationality, and age. But they all share their desire to make the future better. From seeing the world to furthering their education, starting a business or fulfilling their destiny, every URIJI user has a unique story.
It is this uniqueness that gives URIJI its power.
The uses on URIJI aren’t after the same “likes” or “views”; they are after something that is completely their own. Tangible and exciting, the users of URIJI are honest in their desire to support each other, because they are getting that support right back.
It is amazing to see what happens when people from around the world unite in the name of progress.
And you can see just that from the moment you launch the URIJI app.
Monetizing experiences, funding aspirations, and sharing stories from the past, URIJI has changed the way I think about social media.
URIJI has changed the way I think about the future.