Providing a platform where people are able to create meaningful connections by breaking down the barriers of social isolation.
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711 West 26th Street, Texas, Austin, (78705)
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Date You Started Your Project Started
February, 10, 2019
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Start-Up (first few activities have happened)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
According to the American College Health Association’s 2018 Survey of nearly 88,000 students, 63% of university students said they felt “very lonely” in the last 12 months. To see how applicable these statistics were to the UT community, we conducted interviews with UT students. In our interviews, students acknowledged that they experienced feelings of loneliness when they saw other students socializing (perceived loneliness).
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
POP is a mobile application that facilitates meet-ups based on shared time availability, interest, and personality traits to help people meet and create a true connection. Consequently, students will increase the amount of time they socialize with real people without having to change their schedules. We are the easiest way to make new friends.
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
POP was founded on a mission to solve the problems of isolation that appeared with the rise of social media. These problems primarily affect Gen Z to Millenials and can cause decreases in productivity, social ability, and self-confidence. We are an initiative that aims to create an online platform that facilitates real-life meetups to create genuine connections to burst that bubble of social isolation.
4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”
5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
Many of us feel like we're all alone in our struggles, that we have nobody to lean on because what we're going through can only apply to us. However, during our initial MVP testing, we had two users who realized both of them dropped out of a particular honors program at our university. Both of these users felt that they were alone on the matter, but bonded in knowing they were not alone. Also, a lot of the self-doubt they were going through was put to rest because they understood together that it wasn't the end of the world, and everyone has a different path to success. Our model can make a difference because it helps people understand that they aren't alone when it comes to being knocked down in life. With the appropriate support structure, anyone can stand back up.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
When it comes to POP, we don’t want to be an app everyone from the public can access. One of our competitive advantages lies in the security we offer. To use POP, you must have a “.edu” email associated with the university you go to and be on its student directory. That way you will only be matched with other students who go to the same institution.
Additionally, another competitive advantage we have is our focus on intrinsic, rather than extrinsic features. This is why we don’t have any visual identifications such as profile pictures and match entirely based on internal factors such as perso
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
We’ve conducted our initial testing by providing a manual matching service in the previous semester. We’ve had 50+ matches and received positive feedback and confirmation of our targeted audience, which led us to create a more scalable solution: The POP mobile app. Out of the initial MVP beta testers, we had an 8.7/10 approval rating. This was based on matching them based on personal interests and major.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
Currently, we’re at the beta testing stage and we intend to have our first product by November. We fully intend to blitzscale our product from then on. This is done by generating hype beforehand with paid brand ambassadors that have the same infectious zeal for POP that the rest of the team has. Additionally, we intend on partnering with a diverse group of student organizations on UT’s campus to spread the word and increase the user base of POP even farther. We are already being sponsored by Sputnik, a startup acceleration program run by Tezza. Using their advice has allowed us to get poised into a ready position so we can leap ahead once everything falls into place.
9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?
10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?
Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?
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