May 22, 2018 | ° F

App invented by 2 Rutgers alumni helps students coordinate social gatherings

Photo by Photo illustration by Jeffrey Gomez |

Two Rutgers alumni collaborated to create Sponte, which helps users organize casual social meetups with their friends. The application was officially launched on the Apple app store earlier this month.

Two Rutgers alumni have recently released a new app called Sponte, which allows users to informally plan events and coordinate with friends.

Josh Block graduated in 2013 and Josh Yammer graduated in 2014. Block said that he had had the idea for the app when he was in college, but did not think about how to implement it until after he had graduated. Sponte went into development about a year ago and was released on the Apple app store about two weeks ago. The team is now working on a version for Android.

“In college, I always wished I had this,” Block said. “Especially being in a fraternity, trying to coordinate with a bunch of guys in a house. It's such a big University but there's literally no way to know what's going on around you, and I feel like there was always so much going on that I just didn't know about.”

In Sponte, users create events and make them available to their Facebook friends, friends of friends or the public. Users can browse events based on parameters like location, time of day and type of activity.

Block said that what makes Sponte different from currently available platforms like Facebook and Meetup is that it is so informal and fast-paced.

“It could be, 'We're going to (Olde) Queens Bar, I'll be there at 11 at the door, who's coming tonight?'” Block said. “You know you're going anyways. You don't want to spend an hour talking to your friends about if they're gonna come or not. You just let them know you're gonna be there. Then you can invite them through the app. It's just a really good way to get your friends together to do something.”

Block said that while Facebook is useful for planning formal events a few weeks ahead of time, it does not allow users to quickly plan activities. Moreover, it does not accurately gauge how many people are going to the event, because oftentimes people who RSVP do not actually go to the event.

Yammer said that Sponte is a simpler and more efficient alternative to coordinating by text messaging or through a group chat.

“Let's say I want to go to a happy hour at a nightclub or whatever. I can just invite all my Facebook friends on the app,” Yammer said. “Right now, without this, what do you do? You text a bunch of people, 'Anyone want in?' Everyone is like, 'Well who else is coming?' or 'I can't come this time, I'll come later.' You start a group chat, you end up talking about nonsense and change the subject. With (Sponte) you do what you want when you want. You post that you're going here, see which of your friends wanna join, and you go. Group chats are the worst.”

Block said that Sponte also makes it easier to stay up-to-date with the goings on of a large university like Rutgers. He said that at Rutgers, even though there are so many events, there is no centralized forum for telling what is happening when.

“If you don't sign up on an email list at the beginning of the semester at the activity fair, you're relying on word of mouth,” Block said. “The hope is that with Sponte at Rutgers you're not left relying on your friends to find things going on, and you really can discover new friends, new activities, new groups, new clubs and also make your own social circle a little bit easier to manage.”

Currently, there is an ambassador program for the app at UCLA, and Block said that they are aiming to launch one soon at Rutgers. He said that the team would like to hire Rutgers students who would use the app frequently.

“We're looking for someone who's looking to join this startup and wants to make their Rutgers experience a little more fulfilling by going to as many things as possible,” Block said. “I know when I was a senior I started freaking out that I was gonna miss out, and tried to go to everything that I could possible go to. The only way I could possibly do that now would be to use Sponte."

Max Marcus is a School of Arts and Sciences senior. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.

Max Marcus

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