Tag: app

Student-founded startup GiftAMeal announced another major partner in their innovative approach to feeding the hungry and promoting restaurant patronage. The Missouri Restaurant Association is teaming up with GiftAMeal to fight hunger through an app that allows users to interact with friends and provide meals to the hungry, by simply taking a picture of their food. Participating restaurants donate the cost of meals posted through the app to local food banks.

giftameal logo 1Andrew Glantz, BSBA’17, CEO of GiftAMeal, was incredibly positive about the implications of the partnership, saying, “Our partnership with the Missouri Restaurant Association is indicative of the large impact we are having for our participating restaurants,”said Andrew Glantz, BSBA’17, CEO of GiftAMeal. “The Missouri Restaurant Association will fuel our growth to support more restaurants, increasing the amount of meals we can provide to those in need.”

Jacob Mohrmann, BSBA’16, Chief Marketing Officer of GiftAMeal, told the Olin Blog, “The Missouri Restaurant Association broke the news with an article in their quarterly magazine. It explains how the app provides meals to the needy, and explains that GiftAMeal generates positive publicity and greater customer engagement for the restaurants involved.” Mohrmann added that the Missouri Restaurant Association also named GiftAMeal as an Endorsed Partner on their website.

SafeTrek is one of the leading personal safety apps available for iOS and Android. When feeling unsafe, a SafeTrek user can simply launch the app and place his or her thumb on a large safety button. When the user feels safe again, they need only release their thumb and enter their passcode. If circumstances necessitate help, however, the user can just release their thumb and wait —  911 is dispatched immediately when the user’s passcode is not entered in time. As such, the SafeTrek app enables users to discreetly notify authorities if and when they are in need of assistance.

Who are they?
SafeTrek’s dedication to the well being of its users is what initially drew our team to the company. SafeTrek’s practices illustrate just how strong their emphasis is on customer service. Last year, for instance, a safety assistant helped direct a distraught college student who had gone out drinking and lost her friends, back to her dorm in New York City. Although the student’s situation fortunately did not require the intervention of law enforcement, the SafeTrek employee remained on the phone with the student throughout her ordeal.

Why did the founders start SafeTrek?
After getting numerous reports concerning the incidents that were occurring on their college campus, the founders of SafeTrek brainstormed an idea about how to develop a safety system that was better suited to ensuring safety than the standard Bluelight System. The founders came up with SafeTrek and the app has since become an enormous success.

Our experience:
Our group has already enjoyed learning from a promising startup on a broad range of topics. As students who each have an interest in one day starting businesses of our own, SafeTrek has been a great partner for our group to consult with and we hope to continue to learn more about the many responsibilities that entrepreneurs must assume to build successful companies. We look forward to providing SafeTrek with helpful market research in the future and are grateful for the opportunity given to us by WashU’s CELect program.

Sandy Kugbei, Law’17; Kimaya Hemdev, BSBA; Christian Luetkemeyer; PMBA; Jason McCloskey, Law

Andrew Glantz, BSBA’17, launched the FoodShare app Oct. 1 and it’s already a finalist in a contest for startups with a $10,000 top prize. The company that wins the majority of a People’s Choice vote, wins the Mobileys Award. You can vote for Andrew’s app that allows users to donate a meal for every meal purchased at a participating restaurant by clicking here. Voting ends Nov. 13.

Click on image above to watch Andrew’s Elevator Pitch.

10.27.2015--Andrew Glantz, founder of FoodShare, at the Peacock Diner. James Byard/WUSTL Photos

Andrew Glantz, founder of FoodShare, at the Peacock Diner. James Byard/WUSTL Photos

Glantz leverages two big trends with his FoodShare app according to a story from the WashU Newsroom:

Trend No. 1: Charitable consumerism. Popularized by shoe company Toms and eyeglass manufacturer Warby Parker, the buy-one, give-one business model is booming. Consumers love helping others by buying stuff they want anyway.

Trend No. 2: Food photography. These days, our social media feeds are stuffed with photos of our friends’ truffle fries and kale smoothies.

“You’re already paying for your meal; why not fight hunger too?” said Glantz, who is studying entrepreneurship at Olin Business School. “It’s a win for everyone — the community, the users and the restaurants.”

Foodshare appFoodShare launched Oct. 1 and already has donated over 800 meals to Operation Food Search​, which distributes food to St. Louis’ hungry and provides a range of nutrition programs.

The model is simple: Diners use the app to shoot a photo of their meal at any of 55 plus participating restaurants. FoodShare then makes a donation to cover a meal’s refrigeration, transportation and labor costs. Currently, FoodShare is paying Operation Food Search directly with money raised from its successful Kickstarter campaign. Ultimately, member restaurants will pay FoodShare a monthly fee to cover the meal costs.

“Signing on with FoodShare transforms a restaurant into a social enterprise,” Glantz said. “You show that you are a socially engaged member of the community. And you increase your social media presence. There are a lot of branding and promotional benefits.”

Operation Food Search operations chief Craig Goldford says FoodShare promises to be a boost. The nonprofit receives the bulk of its food from food drives and donations from restaurants and grocery stores. Still, it needs money to distribute meals to some 150,000 hungry St. Louisans every month.

“At Operation Food Search, we are constantly striving to find new ways to raise funds and build awareness,” Goldford said. “FoodShare does both.

“In this field, you need to be creative, and Andrew is certainly that. He’s also a great listener. He really took the time to understand what our needs are.”

FoodShare has come a long way since its inception. Glantz, along with partners Jacob Mohrmann, a senior in Olin Business School, and Dartmouth College student Aidan Folbe, originally launched FoodShare as restaurant recommendation app that rewarded users with a check in the mail. However, the initial model failed to reach their growth targets.

In this first model, the team pledged to donate a portion of its proceeds to help fight hunger in the region. However, the partners soon realized that fully incorporating the social mission into the business model would be more effective.

“Giving back to our community is something that mattered greatly to us,” Glantz said. “We always planned to give a portion of our proceeds to serve the hungry. Now, it would be central to our mission.”

Glantz, a foodie and a philanthropist, realized pivoting to a the buy-one, give-one model would simultaneously make FoodShare more engaging and impactful.

Glantz plans to stay in St. Louis after graduation and hopes to expand FoodShare to other markets. He credits his education at Washington University for teaching him to think big.

“We put aside our egos and accepted what we had wasn’t working,” Glantz said. “One thing I’ve learned in my classes here is not to evaluate sunk costs. All of the money and time we invested in the past wasn’t coming back. We could only think about where we could go from here.

“My businesses classes have given me the real-world lessons that I apply everyday. My ArtSci classes are important too,” Glantz said. “Being an entrepreneur requires creativity as well as business skills, and you never know what will be helpful.

“Right now I’m in a political science course and a children studies course. Do I know how those are going to impact me for FoodShare? No. But they will have added and unknown influences to my thinking and perspective.” ​

Newsroom story by Diane Toroian Keaggy

It’s called Sketch-a-Song. It’s free and it’s designed to make music creation accessible to everyone—even people without formal musical training.

Jacob Zax, BSBA’13, and classmate Adam Segal are members of the team of seven high school friends who devoted last summer to creating the app.

The co-creators of the Sketch-A-Song app have been friends since they were classmates at Denver East High School.

The guys all attended Denver East High School in Colorado and are pursuing degrees ranging from computer science to English at different universities. Jacob answered questions about Sketch-A-Song via email, three days after their app’s soft launch.

Q: Can you tell me a bit more about your friends and co-creators?

A:  The group of co-creators are best friends from high school. We were very close in high school and have stayed best friends throughout college. Towards the end of last year we decided to forgo internships to spend one last summer together working on a project.

Q: How long have you been working on this app?
A: A total of nine months. We worked full time for two months during the summer and almost released when we returned to school. We weren’t quite ready though, and after a lot of deliberation decided to make the finishing touches to the app over winter break (making progress during the semester was unrealistic due to our other commitments). Those improvements ended up taking us into the start of this semester but they’ve made a big difference in the app’s quality.

Logo for parent company of Sketch-a-Song.

Q: What was inspiration for Sketch-A-Song?
A: Adam and I took a class called the Hatchery (B53 MGT 424 01S Business Planning for New Enterprises) in the Washington University Business School in the spring of 2012, which was designed to nurture student’s entrepreneurial ideas and ambitions. While our project for that class was quite different from Sketch-a-Song, the experience helped inspire us to commit our summer to our own venture and convince our friends to join us in starting a business. As a group, we had a passionate collective belief that we could learn a ton from working with one another towards a common goal. Also, my friends are just inspiring people—and the thought of sharing a summer with them in such a meaningful way was exhilarating from day one.

Screenshot of the app.

As for the concept of music creation, all credit goes to our co-creator Zack Sulsky who is a great musician and music theorist. He was the one who convinced us that we should aspire to creating a product that would allow anyone to make pleasing music.

Q: Do you plan to make money with the app?
A: We made the app because we wanted to give people a way to express themselves musically that was fun, intuitive, and accessible. We explicitly chose not to include advertisements because we didn’t want to detract from the simplicity of the creation process or the app’s overall aesthetic.

However, we do have in-app-purchases as a way to unlock additional content and while our NoteNotes (that’s our name for the in-game currency) are moderately priced, and can also be earned by making songs, we do expect to make some money as people become familiar with the game and want to explore additional instruments and sketchpads.

Q: What are you guys going to do THIS summer?
A: As graduating seniors we have a variety of plans, jobs, and traveling to look forward to. I will personally be taking the lead on promoting Sketch-a-Song before exploring other career opportunities. Adam will be training to become a teacher with Teach For America. While the team is headed in many different professional directions our commitment to Sketch-a-Song will continue to unite us. We have also talked about exploring a webz concept sometime in the future but I can’t say too much about that.

Check out Sketch-A-Song’s website  and download the app for iOS or Android  devices.