Foraying into Consumer Mobile (Redcup)

I had the inspiration for Redcup when I was visiting colleges in the spring of my Senior year in high school, to decide which one I would attend (I ultimately chose Stanford). I visited universities on the weekend to be able to experience the nightlife and social culture of the campuses and noticed the same inefficiencies everywhere I went.

Students would spend about an hour in the afternoon/early evening trying to figure out what they are going to do that night. The methods people used to make plans ranged from mass-text messages to visiting their friends’ dorm rooms. Ultimately though, there was a ton of time spent on figuring out what is happening around campus, who is going where and when, and once the night has begun- the quality of each event. Because there is massive information asymmetry, I thought there should be a mobile app that could solve these problems for college students. At the time I did not know how to code, so I had to learn iOS development from scratch.

As I learned how to program and make iOS apps I started to put together what the app would look like:

Redcup screenshots

Redcup was first launched at Rutgers University in New Jersey. The first weekend, over 300 people signed up for Redcup and these users sent over 1,800 text message invites to friends. In the next few weeks the app spread to 30 college campuses (mostly in the Northeast). However the growth was unscalable as the Campus Champion program that I used to gain footholds into colleges required too much time investment on my end to keep them engaged and spreading the word. This growth channel was ultimately unscalable for a 1-person team. I learned a ton about how growth for consumer mobile apps work as well as the technical architecture through Redcup. This was then applied to Sail, my next endeavor in the social events space.