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Lokvani Talks To Sahil Bhaiwala, Co-Founder Of 6Ft Closer

Nirmala Garimella

Over 1,000 frontline workers in 30 states across America and over 7 countries have received personalized thank you videos from people at home thanks to 6FTCloser. The platform, which was founded in mid-April and built by a team of twenty-something entrepreneurs across the country, provides an opportunity for the public to send a quick, personalized thank you video at no cost to an individual frontline worker whom they've never met.

6FTCloser facilitates anonymous matches between those who would like to personally say ‘thanks’ and frontline workers who have been nominated by friends, colleagues, and loved ones. Companies and municipalities are also participating in a ‘gratitude challenge’ by encouraging employees and residents to make videos. 

I spoke to one of the co-founders Sahil Bhaiwala via email

Please share with us the background of the Co-ounders

Noah Friedman and I are great friends - we were actually college roommates. He has a background in venture capital, entrepreneurship, and media. I have a background in management consulting, private equity, and DTC (direct-to-consumer) companies.

How did this idea come together?

Noah had the initial idea about a month ago. He had just decided to transition off of the portfolio company that he was running and was trying to think of what would be his next move. Then COVID-19 hit and he felt compelled to do something that would really help. He loved the energy people had clapping out of the window at 7pm every night to thank frontline workers, and wondered if there was a way to make it even more personal to make sure that each individual person working on the front lines felt that love and support. So he decided to test out the idea of sending personal thank you videos by having himself and his parents send videos to 3 frontline workers who were friends of friends of friends (they didn't know Noah or his family). 

He wasn't sure what to expect, but the reactions were incredibly positive. He played around with the idea a bit more and then a day or two later he called me saying he thought this was a really powerful opportunity to do some good. Right away I understood how powerful these videos could be. The simple gesture of saying someone's name and speaking to them directly makes them feel seen, respected, and loved. We spent the next two weeks sharpening up the idea and how it would work, building out a tech platform to actually be able to send the videos, and bringing on an amazing group of people who have been willing to spend almost all of their time volunteering to bring 6FTCloser to life. Since launching about 3 weeks ago, we've exchanged nearly 1,000 videos.

Tell us about your team?
During the two weeks that we were building out the platform, we brought on an incredible team of 5 people:
  • Ben Sharf (Buffalo, NY) is leading our Strategic Partnerships efforts to work with companies, organizations, and universities. 
  • Ariella Sharf (Buffalo, NY) is leading our digital marketing efforts across all social media channels and handling our influencer relationships
  • Laura Murphy (Rye, NY) is spearheading all our back-end operations and refining our operational processes 
  • Nell Brennan (Chicago, IL) is managing our user experience
  • Jesse Caron (Tampa, FL) is a med student at the University of Florida and is leading our grassroots initiatives to bring on frontline workers to thank
Most of the team have never met each other as we all came together during quarantine. Ben, Laura, and Nell knew Noah from different walks of life. Ariella is Ben's sister. Jesse is a good college friend of both mine and Noah's. Since launch, we've brought on people to help with graphic design and video editing, with our strategic partnerships, with grassroots efforts, and more. We now have an extended team of about 15 people.

Watch the promo video

How many people have you reached up till now? How will you move it forward after COVID?
In its current form, 6FTCloser is enabling people at home to send a thank you video at no cost to an individual frontline worker whom they've never met before (here is a brief news clip to help illustrate). We have exchanged over 1000 videos since launching in mid-April, and our goal is to reach every frontline worker in the world, from doctors and nurses to delivery people and police officers. Future use cases include preventative mental health, disaster relief, refugee crises, and many more instances where acknowledgement can go a long way


Some FAQ's posted on the site


Are the phone numbers exchanged between the two parties?

 No. All messages are exchanged anonymously and through 6FTCloser. We never share phone numbers or email addresses.

What if the recipient doesn’t want the video?

There is absolutely no expectation or obligation on behalf of the frontline worker to watch the video. They are meant to be purely uplifting and energizing, and we completely respect if someone feels uncomfortable receiving a video for any reason. An opt-in text is sent to the recipient before the video so they can always choose not to receive or watch it.

What can I say in my video?

Videos are meant to be personal and genuine, so we encourage you to speak from the heart! With that said we do maintain strict community guidelines around permissible content, and all videos are thoroughly vetted to ensure all messages are sent with love and positivity.

Will the essential worker be able to respond? Will I know they got the video?

Yes! If the recipient of the video wants to send a personal thank you, they can do so via 6FTCloser. All messages are exchanged through our platform so no contact information is ever shared.

 Is contact information ever shared? Is this secure?

We never share information with anybody and we never use the contact information for anything other than facilitating the connection. Privacy is crucial and we prioritize it above all else. No data is ever shared or sold. Ever. Additionally, we have a strict data archiving system in place to minimize any risk.

 Can I choose who I make my video for?

Unfortunately, no. To maintain the privacy of all essential workers, we don’t let video makers choose who they create a video for. Plus, we think it’s magical to connect new people for an expression of gratitude. Will my video be seen by anyone else? Not unless you want it to be. All videos are privately listed so only those with the link can see them. We’ll always ask your permission before sharing the video with anybody else.

 From which countries can I sign up or nominate from? We are excited to say you can sign up and nominate frontline workers from over 150 all across the globe.

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