Seven students have spent the past semester working on the app Urbo. After becoming friends through the Kelley Living Learning Center, the group has been working to the bring the app to the Bloomington community.
Urbo is an app described as “similar to Groupon, but more customized” by one of the members, freshman Alan Goldenberg. In the app, users can add businesses they like to their Urbo Center and then businesses can add deals and coupons.
Instead of just hanging out in dorms playing games, studying or talking, this group of friends spends their time together working on the app.
The app was started by Goldenberg’s family friend back in New Jersey. Knowing Goldenberg had an interest in business, they offered him a chance to work on developing the app with him.
After he came to IU in August, Goldenberg introduced the idea to bring the app to Bloomington and start recruiting businesses and organizations on campus. Goldenberg knew that trying to recruit and market to a college of almost 50,000 students would be difficult, so Goldenberg got his friends involved.
Freshmen Kyle Woods, Carlos Moreno, Mike Kolodin, Ryan Madiefsky, Dave Schlegel and junior Brandon Grinberg have spent this semester reaching out to businesses and trying to help the app grow and recruit more users.
“We were originally going to try to start things up in the New York area,” Goldenberg said. “It’s a huge area and would be really hard to get it all. Coming to Bloomington, I knew it would be good to start here.”
The newest feature is that organizations such as fraternities and sororities will be able to create events and invite users, although the group feels the temporary suspension of Interfraternity Council social events with alcohol could make it difficult for this feature to be utilized.
The students have been working to recruit smaller businesses in town, but they eventually hope to have partnerships with bigger places in Bloomington and hopefully corporations.
“We’re hoping to eventually get partnerships with places like the IMU and IU,” Goldenberg said. “So they could host events and then send it to students that add them to their center.”
While the students have been reaching out to businesses and greek organizations, they said the hardest part is getting people to reach out and getting people to download the app.
“The worst thing you can do is support a student start up,” Woods said. "We just need more people to actually download it."