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移动应用

商业 - 科技

创业偶像打造面向大学生的交友利器

JP Mangalindan 2013年07月22日

大学新生人生地不熟,怎样找到志趣相投的朋友?怎样找到情投意合的对象?怎样知道校园里最近发生了什么新闻?现在,这些麻烦事或许可以交给一款定位移动应用代劳了。

    迈克尔•卡拉汉和科里•利维 图片来源:about.me

    对于普通高校的大一学生来说,最初几个月往往充满了压力,因为他们需要适应一个新地方,结交新朋友。伊利诺伊大学(University of Illinois)学生、应用程序One的联合创始人科里•利维就曾在2010年亲身体会过这种人生地不熟的窘境。

    “开学第一天,我几乎一个人都不认识,也不知道周围正在发生什么事情,”他回忆说。“One真的挺有用,因为它可以根据人们的兴趣爱好,为他们提供更多关于周围的人和事的信息。”

    这款适用于iOS系统的应用主要面向大学生群体。它根据地理位置和共同的爱好,比如钟爱蠢朋克乐队(Daft Punk)或电影《指环王》(Lord of the Rings),提醒人们注意附近的其他用户。这款应用现已在包括伊利诺伊大学(the University of Illinois)在内的4所大学普及。凭借着罗恩•康威、基思•拉布伊斯、True Ventures风投公司和其他支持者提供的近200万美元种子资金,利维和卡拉汉打算在秋季到来前把它推广到至少10所其他院校。

    但在这一切变成现实之前,21岁的利维和29岁的卡拉汉将在财富头脑风暴技术会议(Brainstorm Tech Conference,7月22日至24日在科罗拉多州阿斯彭研究所召开)上,与4位其他选手共同角逐本年度创业偶像大赛(Startup Idol)的桂冠。我们提前问了他几个简单的问题。

    问:假设现在已经是下一周,你们已经登台亮相了。用一句话简短地介绍你们的产品。

    答:One是一款移动应用,随时提醒人们注意身边是否来了一个与自己有着许多罕见共同点的家伙。

    问:现在有不少所谓的“发现人”应用,它们的目的或许有些区别,但基本原则是一样的。那么One与其他应用(比如说Highlight)有什么不同之处?

    答:说起“发现人”这一功能,我愿意用One和你所说的Highlight比较一下。在我看来,Highlight所做的事情非常被动。它会告诉你某个人是在几个街区之外,还是在几英里之外。我们认为这些都是“非实际信息”。谁在乎某个人离你几英里,还是几个街区啊?你绝不会为了见一个陌生人而走上很长一段路。但如果你正坐在一间教室或者餐厅里面,而且你身旁有一个人与你有着许多罕见的共同点,那么你与这个人建立真实联系的几率就将大大增加。没有哪款应用能够达到这样的精确性。我们想说的是,我们的“接近性引擎”(proximity engine)本身就是一种技术成就,它可以让两个拥有许多共同点,彼此相隔3英尺或20英尺的人建立联系。

    其次,我们的产品是为我们自己开发的。这款应用的服务对象是大学生。我们知道我们和朋友们究竟想要具备什么功能的产品。相较于其他年纪大一点的创业者,我们更加接近问题的核心。

    问:从技术上讲,今年并不是你第一次参加财富头脑风暴技术会议。听说有一年你没拿到票就混进场了,真的吗?

    那是三年前的事情,当时我们甚至还没有动手开发One。我和家人一起在科罗拉多州度假,走在街道的时候,我发现周围许多漂亮的轿车上都印着带有“财富头脑风暴技术会议”字样的标识。所以,我就跳入其中一辆,随口说了一句,“带我去吧”。我当时并没有登记注册,就这样被拉进了会场。实际上,我悄悄地坐在了基思•拉布伊斯的旁边,还和他搭讪了。现在,他成了我们的首位投资者。当然,我最终被发现了,但我说服《财富》(Fortune)方面的组织者给了我最后两天的门票!(财富中文网)

    译者:任文科

    For the average college freshman, the first few months are stressful as they navigate a new place and make new friends. Cory Levy, a University of Illinois student and co-founder of One, found that out for himself in 2010.

    "My first day, I hardly knew a soul and had no idea what events were happening around me," he recalls. "One would have really helped, as it gives you more information about the people and things happening around you based on your interests."

    Available for iOS, the app was meant for the college set. One notifies people of other nearby users, called "matches," based on location and shared interests, like an affinity for Daft Punk or Lord of the Rings. Available at four schools, including the University of Illinois, Levy and Callahan will introduce it to at least 10 other schools by fall thanks to nearly $2 million in seed funding from Ron Conway, Keith Rabois, True Ventures, and other backers.

    But before that happens, Levy, 21, and Callahan, 29, will vie as one of five contestants for the mantle of this year's Startup Idol competition at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference, at the Aspen Institute in Colorado. We caught up with Levy beforehand for a few quick questions.

    Q: Let's pretend it's next week already, and you're onstage. Give us your elevator pitch in one sentence.

    A: One is a mobile application that notifies you when someone is right next to you who shares a number of rare things in common.

    There are other so-called people discovery apps out there that may have somewhat different aims but the same underlying principle. (Take Highlight, for example.) So how is One different?

    So if I were talking about "people discovery," I would contrast it and say with Highlight, what you do is very passive. It'll tell you if someone is a couple blocks or a few miles away. We see that as "non-actual information." Who cares if someone is a couple miles from you or a couple blocks from you? You're not going to walk a long distance to go meet a stranger. But if you're sitting in a class or at a restaurant, and there's someone right next to you with a number of rare interests in common, the chances of you actually connecting with that person increases. No one's been able to get that range of accuracy, and we like to say that that in itself is a sort of technical achievement -- our proximity engine -- that allows someone to connect when they're three feet or 20 feet from each other.

    Secondly, we're building a product for ourselves. This is a product geared towards college kids. We know what we want and what our friends want. We're closer to the problem compared with other founders who may be a little bit older.

    Technically, this Brainstorm Tech conference isn't your first. You gate-crashed one year, right?

    Three years ago before we even starting work on One. I was in Colorado on a family vacation, and I noticed when I was walking the street that there were these nice cars driving around with "Fortune Brainstorm Tech" signs. So I hopped into one, and I said, "Yep, take me there," or whatever. I wasn't signed up or anything, but I was driven into the venue. Actually, I snuck in and sat next to Keith [Rabois]. I connected with him. Fast-forward, he became our first investor. Of course, I got caught eventually, but I convinced Fortune to give me a ticket for the last two days or so!

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