Basically, Angel Davis and business partner Lauren Washington got tired of all the cats on Facebook.
The friends were musing aloud about the clutter on their social networks. But they were unwilling to delete their accounts, for fear of missing the important stuff: Birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations of new jobs and other milestones in their friends’ lives.
“People take hiatuses from Facebook, but then they miss out on these events,” said Davis, a Consortium fellow who attended OP in 2010 and graduated from New York University’s Stern School of Business in 2012. “It’s about getting to the heart of what is important about social media.”
That conversation gave rise to KeepUp, a startup company and fledging smartphone app designed to weed out the social media clutter and signal users about the important stuff. That idea won $250,000 in seed funding for Davis and Washington, who graduated from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Davis told The Consortium her app just had its beta release in the Apple App Store and she’s eager to invite everyone (CGSM family included) to put it through its paces and send feedback. She’s expecting a hard launch for the app sometime this year.
A tech startup wasn’t necessarily on her mind when she started her MBA program, but, Davis said, “business school gives you that entrepreneurial experience. It gives you the ability to turn ideas into action.”
Accenture hired Davis as a management consultant straight out of Stern, but winning the seed funding empowered her and Washington to commit themselves full-time to their startup. She left Accenture in late 2014.
The business model for the app is three-pronged: Up-sell opportunities for users to send cards and gifts to friends on their social networks (of which KeepUp gets a cut); premium features within the app itself; and a plan (yet to be developed) for using the collected data.
“It just really started with conversation,” Davis said. “We asked, ‘How would we solve this problem?'”