Rutgers sophomore buddies up with school peers to create social connection app
Deciding on a place to meet a friend can sometimes be challenging, and choosing a midpoint location can be even more difficult.
MidWayz is a growing app created by Rutgers students that is looking to solve this dilemma. The app helps find restaurants, bars and local hangouts at the midpoint between you and a friend.
Although there are pre-existing apps that supply the same information, MidWayz takes the extra step and lists what is close in proximity between two people wanting to meet up.
“(Midwayz developers are changing) how people hang out and spend their times together,” said Austin Engelhardt, founder and CEO of MidWayz. “We are striving to revolutionize how people meet up and find new places.”
Engelhardt, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, hopes that all the information he is learning will help him market and help grow his current product.
“(This) field is about analytics,” he said. “I (want to) understand the information and learn how to market a product.”
The idea for the app transformed into a passion once an investor took interest and believed in the app.
“(I would) love to be that person (who is the) catalyst for the market,” Engelhardt said.
The idea for MidWayz came to Engelhardt when visiting his grandmother in New York for dinner and was tasked with finding a convenient location to meet. Since there was no pre-existing app to help, Engelhardt decided to create one.
Engelhardt and his childhood friends, MidWayz Chief Marketing Officer and co-founder Eli Silverstein and MidWayz Chief Operating Officer and co-founder Elijah Thomas, raised enough money through investors to launch their app earlier this year in June.
MidWayz is now live and is available to download, which Engelhardt said was the most exciting moment of the process.
But Engelhardt acknowledges he could not have created the app without his two close friends and the rest of the team.
Robyn Magnarelli, the project graphic designer, and Brian Foley, CEO of Buddytruk, also played key roles in the development of MidWayz.
“My role on the MidWayz team (was) as a freelance art director and designer,” said Magnarelli, a self-employed graphic designer. “I took the vision of the development team, put a feel against their functionality and helped with information hierarchy.”
Magnarelli believes that MidWayz in on the upward trend towards growth because it gives the option to plan with others interactively and simultaneously. MidWayz will become a “go-to app” for many on their smart phones, she said.
Foley served as a special advisory for MidWayz and helped the team accomplish their launch goal.
“Austin reached out to me after seeing our article on entrepreneur.com,” he said. “Austin wanted some advice on how to get started, so I gave him a few tips.”
Foley believes MidWayz is headed toward a bright future.
Since MidWayz and Yelp share similar accessibility functions, he said Yelp could potentially acquire MidWayz down the road.
“It enhances their current model," he said ."They have the cash to do so and it makes Yelp more valuable."
The app has users across the globe, from Chile and Australia, Engelhardt said. The team is currently working on a new update that is set to release in the near future.
”Users want to see more than just two locations,” he said. “We always have goals we set for the company, launching was the first step in the process.”
At the end of the day, Engelhardt is appreciative of the opportunity that arose. MidWayz presents a current and fresh idea that appears to have limitless possibilities to how people meet up and communicate.
“If you have a passion (for something), you can do it.” Engelhardt said. “Don’t let anyone tell you (that) you can’t do it."