Four hours and $8 was all it took to launch UT alumnus Yousef Okasheh into Internet fame.
Okasheh created an online company — Netflix and Chill Condoms — which sells sets of three FDA-approved condoms packaged in wrappers that read “Netflix and chill.” The business, created Oct. 5, targets people who “Netflix and chill,” a euphemism for sex that has recently gone viral on social media.
“The [Netflix and Chill Condoms] business is serious, I guess, but the concept is definitely a joke,” Okasheh said. “I tried to make [the website] as jokey as possible.”
The idea hit Okasheh when he saw a meme on the Internet last week. Okasheh said the site went live Tuesday and has received 40 orders as of Friday, sparking articles from Fusion, The Daily Dot and a tweet from the CEO of Netflix. Okasheh said he is currently negotiating with a Russian cosmetic distributor to get the condoms in boutiques across Eastern Europe.
The company is not Okasheh’s first step into the business world. He launched the mobile app Who’s Hungry in spring 2014 and a snorkeling tour guide company, Snorkel ATX, this September.
“My true passion is trying out my ideas,” Okasheh said. “I feel like I call my dad every two weeks with a new company idea or a new company actually going. He is used to hearing this.”
Although still in development, the Who’s Hungry app had a strong start with more than 80 followers on Twitter. Snorkel ATX, on the other hand, was shut down several weeks after opening because it lacked of proper permits. Okasheh said all his business ventures are attempts at making temporary income to support himself while he begins to pursue a Ph.D., which he plans to apply for next fall.
UT alumnus Josh Greenfield runs the business’s Twitter page with psychology senior Steven Rivas. Greenfield said he accepted Okasheh’s offer because he thinks the project is hilarious, and the two worked together in the past on Who’s Hungry.
“I think [the product’s popularity] has a lot to do with this millennial generation and how crazy capitalism has gotten,” Greenfield said. “We’re not really taking ourselves seriously with this product. It’s just funny how people latch onto something this ridiculous.”
Students on social media have questioned whether his idea is legal. Okasheh said he thinks the company is covered under fair use, an exception to copyright laws that protects parodies.
“I typically err on side of risk,” Okasheh said. “If I see on the Internet or in a TV show that [a business idea] may be legitimately protected, I’ll probably just trust it. YOLO.”
Twenty-seven-year-old entrepreneur Kori Williams also created a website selling the same product. Okasheh said he thinks his own website launched first, but it’s hard to tell because they went live around the same time. He said he believes both businesses can continue to peacefully coexist.
Okasheh said he does not consider himself an entrepreneur and that his condom business falls into the e-commerce category, which is typically less respected in the business world. As long as it remains a side project and doesn’t take up too much time, he said he is willing to go wherever the business takes him. If he makes enough money to cover a month’s rent, he said he’ll consider it a big success.
“I think it would be fucking hilarious to literally be at a ‘Netflix and chill’ event and whip one of [our condoms] out,” Okasheh said. “That would be so funny and it makes sense to try and provide that.”