'Koji' Two men

Courtesy of Koji Cole Mitchell

Co-founders Sean Thielen and Dmitry Shapiro want Koji to be the ultimate link-in-bio tool for creators

‘It’s almost like bringing back the personal website, in a much more modern and interactive way.’


Grace Stanley

Internet Culture

Posted on Apr 28, 2022   Updated on Jul 26, 2023, 6:07 pm CDT


This story was originally published on Passionfruit.

We’re sitting down with leaders on the business side of the creator economy to get their best advice for creators looking to launch and develop their careers. This week, we spoke with Sean Thielen and Dmitry Shapiro, the founders of Koji. 

Koji describes itself as an ecosystem of app developers, creators, and fans. Creators can make a customizable home screen of apps on Koji’s “launcher,” which can be linked in social media bios for fans to access. 

We spoke with Koji’s founders about how their passions for computer programming collided, what challenges creators face today, what Koji offers, the future of social media and digital identity, and more. 

The founding of Koji

In the early 2010s, Sean Thielen was a college student studying literature, but he was passionate about computer programming. 

Thielen was interested in developing apps while in college, so he made a blog post—on Hacker News, a social networking site geared towards technology entrepreneurs—saying he needed some mentorship. 

Dmitry Shapiro, a former chief technology officer at Myspace who was a group product manager at Google at the time, was referred to Thielen’s post by a friend. He reached out to Thielen to lend a hand and the pair quickly became friends. 

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*First Published: Apr 28, 2022, 6:30 am CDT