Recently we had an opportunity to speak with
, the Co-Founder and COO at
about After School App
Please share with us the backstory of what motivated you to create this app.
After School was created as a platform for high school students to communicate openly and honestly, without judgment. Teens face many challenges on a day-to-day basis, and many of those challenges can be overcome or lessened by communicating and connecting with their peers at their high school.
How did you decide which platforms to release your app on and do you plan on releasing your app to other platforms?
Our company has a great team of iOS developers, so creating an iOS test version of the app was a natural fit. We are now available in both the App Store and on Android.
How is your app different than the rest of the market? Which unique need does it fill?
After School has many innovative features and safety measures that set it apart from any other social network. After School is a private social network, meaning only students at a specific high school can share and connect with others at their school. This requires safety features and age and school verification processes.
After School also allows students to choose whether or not to share their name with posts. Providing anonymity comes with the responsibility of protecting our communities from content that violates our community guidelines and terms of service. We accomplish this with both human and technical moderation.
What features do you hope to roll out to your app in the future?
We have a lot of exciting features we will reveal over the next several years, but our primary focus is on safety. We invest heavily in making sure After School is a safe place for teens in addition to being fun and innovative. We are working with nonprofit partners and safety experts to continue to innovatively prevent misuse of our app while providing new opportunities to teens to get involved in the world around them. We're using our online communities to inspire real change both on and offline.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of the creation of this app?
The most rewarding aspect of creating After School has by far been the positive feedback and stories the teens who use After School have shared with us. From social media posts about how their days are better because of our app to the over 60,000 students we helped connect to crisis counselors, our users reward us everyday with their feedback and support.
What is the coolest or most innovative feature of your app?
The coolest feature of After School is called “would you?" This feature allows students to respond yes or no to participating in an action, event, or cause with a fellow student. If both students respond yes, they are informed of the mutual connection around a specific action. For example, “would you hi-five with Maggie?" If two students say yes, they will see that the other student responded yes and can then share a picture of them hi-fiving with each other. Other examples include students getting involved in social causes together using our partnership with one of the largest organizations for young people and social change -- DoSomething.org. The first DoSomething.org campaign launched on the app OS was Mirror Messages, a fun way for students to help boost the self-esteem of other by posting positive messages on bathroom mirrors. Thousands of students have gotten involved in the social effort and we're looking forward to implementing new campaigns very soon.
What surprised you most in your journey to create this app?
We realized the need for what we were creating pretty early on. When starting and growing any company, there will be small surprises along the way, but none that I could point to as being very surprising. We have a hard working team and great partners that help us quickly overcome challenges and avoid unexpected surprises.
Which other mobile apps or technology have inspired you?
I'm a big fan of learning from other entrepreneurs and other tech companies. I love how Facebook and Snapchat have both evolved from their early beginnings. Snapchat is quickly turning into one of the most influential media companies and Facebook is getting involved in virtual reality. I admire companies that dominate a specific niche and then evolve to serve their users in different ways.
Do you have any recommendations or advice for others wanting to create a mobile app?
Know your user. We held focus groups and asked a lot of questions before building the app to make sure what we built was what they wanted and much more. Don't only create what you want until knowing there is a target market that also wants the same things.
For more information, visit: http://www.afterschoolapp.com