Uniloops, and an interesting week

The last week has been the quintessential startup experience. A part of me felt like I was back in college, which was a ton of fun but at the same took a bit of getting used to.

I’m working with a couple of college kids to build Uniloops (http://uniloops.com)—an application which aims to transform the way college students communicate in groups. Whether it be for study, student clubs and societies, or just general fun, students want to communicate using messaging. But the current group features, primarily in WhatsApp, don’t lend themselves well in the student setting. For example, you need to share your phone number in order to be in a WhatsApp group. In India, girl students in particular don’t want to share their phone numbers so broadly. Students also want to be reasonably cheeky, and anonymous messaging is increasingly becoming popular on campuses. Third, group chats can get very noisy and important messages easy to miss.

Uniloops solves all of these.

We’re launching at a big campus festival at a University in Chennai. As we prepare for that, my week was the quintessential startup founder’s story that you hear so often (and a big contrast from the days at McKinsey — although that training helped tremendously; I’ll talk about that in a different post). This week, I:

  • Visited the campus to finalise the location for our booth, and bargained for an affordable price
  • Designed and worked with a T-Shirt printing vendor to get branded goodies to give away. The process involved chasing the vendor innumerable times to make sure the color was right (it wasn’t at first), to confirming the delivery time (they were delayed), to getting a reasonable price
  • Designed and printed pull up banners and large hanging banners to post around campus — they came out very nicely
  • Ordered and helped pick up large boxes of chips and other packaged snacks to hand out to students as an incentive
  • Visited restaurants to form partnerships to act as lead-generators for us at the event
  • Bought party gear — hats, goggles, wigs etc. for students to wear and take photos to post on Uniloops
  • Worked with the team to plan, build and test the MVP (which was built in record pace) and said several prayers to the Apple-Gods to receive approval for at least an early version of the iOS app (it was, yay!)
  • The dev team meanwhile pulled all-nighters and had mattresses in the office (which is a rented flat) ready to go, which came in quite handy :)

Now all we have to do is chase a bunch of students over the next 3 days to get as much installs and engagement as possible, so that we can learn, tweak, and unearth the right next steps.

Wish us luck! It’s been a terrific experience so far and the learning, tremendous.

Check out Uniloops at: uniloops.com

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