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    Date submitted
  • 13-Feb-2016



Our social media platform (available on iOS and Android) provides a new and innovative way for students to find / organize fun stuff to do with friends, develop lasting friendships, and form local communities based on their interests. With college-student engagement rates falling rapidly and mental health problems rising, Universities are looking for new ways to get students involved and connected to one another. That’s where Hashtaggy comes in.

Think: Meetup + Twitter. When subscribed to #interests, you are presented with fun, relevant topics and hangouts from nearby students. For example, students in Utah following ‘#soccer’ might be exposed to hangouts for pickup soccer games, whereas someone following ‘#lassondestudios’ sees everything happening within Lassonde. Hashtaggy is designed to help students stay “in the loop” and ease the friction of organizing activities.



Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

College students spend about 154 million hours with their friends each week, which despite being at the lowest point since 1987, is a huge market to tap into. Because Utah is full of people who love getting active and outside, we are first focusing on building a community here, before expanding to other markets. Our marketing team has three clear psychographic profiles within this market (determined by our most popular activities in testing), including casual sports, outdoors, and gamers.

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

College is the least social it has been since 1987. Students are spending 27.6% less time socializing, with 38.8% socializing less than 5 hours per week (up over 46%). Social media discourages face-to-face interaction. Its usage, however, is at an all-time high among students at 44.5 per week. Further, mental health among students is lower than ever before. Almost 1/3 of students describe being too depressed to fully function, and more than ½ experience “overwhelming anxiety.”

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

When you think of hanging out with friends casually, you don't think of events. Events are formal. No, when you hangout with friends you think of fun, casual things you do with your friends. This is Hashtaggy's core standout element. Everything Hashtaggy does is designed to make it easier for college students to have casual fun with their friends, and to make new friendships along the way. One strength Hashtaggy has is the ease of discovery within it. Everything you see is directly related to what you care about, making it easy to find great content. It also makes it really easy to stay in the loop with what your friends and clubs are up to, meaning that the more your friends use it, the more you have a "fear of missing out" by not using it. The product itself is built to go viral, with the ability to share hangouts you create on it through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SMS. When people tap on those hangout links, it takes them to the App Store where they can then quickly sign up and get involved. By sharing hangouts, sharing Hashtaggy with friends much more authentic than simply sending a link to download the app. Further, invitations to hangouts are handled through messaging, which we find increases engagement with hangouts exponentially over Facebook's traditional invite style, which is much less personal. We also make it really easy to figure out which of your friends would appreciate or be interested in an invite to the hangout, which makes organizing stuff much less difficult. Finally, our product experience is FUN. When you are at a hangout, for example, we randomly send people at the hangout a "dare", with funny things like "pretend to be Donald Trump for the next 5 minutes". We also personify the hashtag character to be snarky and fun, and have small Easter eggs littered across the product. Hanging out with friends is meant to be fun, and the product experience itself should mimic that psychology!

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

Since starting in May, 2015, our student-run company has grown to ten highly-talented student employees. Each of us has had unique experiences that brought us to this project, and our passion is deeply rooted in the need for Hashtaggy in our own lives. Our team has put thousands of hours into making this dream a reality, and have grown and matured in ways we never thought possible. While we still have so much to learn, we are confident in ourselves and ability to make a meaningful difference in the world, and will do everything in our power to make it happen. Our current competitors include Facebook, Meetup, Eventbrite, and other websites with local events and/or groups. We offer enhanced value over our competitors by offering a simpler, more casual way to find relevant and causal activities.