New Year, New Apps: Caroline Edwards’ Interview With Creators of yAPPer

To ring in the new year, Caroline Edwards decided to focus on an exciting new project that will be launched in mid-January: the yAPPer app, created by three George Washington University graduate students and an iOS developer who have taken on the challenge of closing the gaps in modern communication. 

Think about this: have you ever been at an event, and wondered who else might be there? Have you seen something in your neighborhood and thought – “Am I the only one who saw that?”

Enter yAPPer a localized chat app. yAPPer allows you to create a message board that anyone within five city blocks, or, to be more precise, 750 yards, can see.

What sets yAPPer apart from other chat services is after 30 minutes of inactivity, your message will be deleted, not only from the app, but from the yAPPer’s servers.

“That helps our users to be candid”, yAPPer President Rob Wyant stated. “People can use the app with the confidence of knowing that what they say on our boards won’t come back years later to haunt them.”

Another great function of the app is the ability to privately message your friends who are around you. By using a hashtag in your message subject line, the app will know to make your chat private and will only be seen by those that you invite to the chat or use the hashtag.

“Bar and restaurant owners or event planners can use this function to create their own unique hashtag in order to send special messages out to people in attendance,” Wyant explains. “Anyone within 750 yards who have the specialized hashtag will be able to see the messages, which is great for sending out special promotions or just connecting with the patrons of your bar”.

In the summer of 2013, Wyant and two of his colleagues, Justin Lichtenstaedter and Dane Hinnen, came up with the idea of creating this app on a whim. “We didn’t set out to create an app, the idea just came to us while in conversation”, Lichtenstaedter stated.

Yapper screenThe three colleagues realized they had a great idea and quite a lot of business experience between them, but no experience with developing apps. That’s when they found the fourth member of their team, Anthony Agby, a skilled self-taught developer who has a passion for bringing other people’s ideas to life.

Recently, they gained popularity by becoming one of 64 apps that were chosen by South By Southwest—the famous Austin, Texas media conference—to compete in their Startup Student Madness tournament. On January 3rd, the judges will choose eight apps to go on to be the “Entrepreneurial Eight”, who will be judged by a celebrity panel of judges and compete for top honors at the SXSW convention.

The founders say that none of their success would be possible without the help of the DC tech community and those at the George Washington University, who have mentored them and supported their project.

“A lot of what we have accomplished is through talking and networking with the community around us,” Wyant stated. “Each day has been a learning experience, and each day I realize I don’t quite know what I am doing. But my partners and I found great help through the GW community and those who are willing to support our start-up.”

For more information on yAPPer, click here. To learn about SXSW’s Student Startup Madness, click here.


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