Recently we had an opportunity to speak with Sheetal Shah, the Co-founder at ToastAFriend, LLC about Raise A Toast
Please share with us the backstory of what motivated you to create this app.
Various life events influenced my aspiration to fill in a void due to a lack of focused platform, which inspired me to develop this app. Below I list some prominent events and also the reasoning to create this platform
After ten years of a rewarding time at a top investment bank, my teammates gave me a surprise farewell party and raised a toast to my contributions. Everyone wrote their farewell message on a card. However, my teammates in London and Asia couldn't be part of the celebration, and that card also has been lost somewhere in the myriad of paperwork.
A year ago, I had my baby shower and all my friends celebrated my special day with really thoughtful wishes. However, today i have very sporadic records of those wishes.
Most importantly I have very few written memories of my late father, when he wished me on graduation, new jobs etc.
These moment are not only very rare, but also pass by quickly. It becomes impossible to cherish these memories unless that is a a platform which allows to store them and revisit at one's liking. At the other end of the spectrum, people who wish also don't have a solid de-cluttered platform where they can collaborate with others irrespective of location and time zones and toast on somebody's special occasion or achievement.
What features do you hope to roll out to your app in the future?
We are very committed to give celebration a 360 degree meaning and have some really exciting features coming out very soon. We constantly aspire to develop the app both functionally and visually. Most noticeable features to be rolled out are the ability to create a toast using phone number for more ease of use and adding animated effects like glasses clicking to get a more realistic toasting experience.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of the creation of this app?
It has been launching the app to the app store and getting that MVP for people to use and see how they engage with the app.
What is the coolest or most innovative feature of your app?
The ability to send a reminder to your collaborators is a cool feature. Often times when we receive an email or a text message, we do not promptly act on it and we often tend to forget about it. By sending a reminder, initiator of the toast can quickly reconnect and remind them to toast.
What surprised you most in your journey to create this app?
The easiest part in the app journey is building the app. Marketing and convincing users how this app will be useful in their day-to day life, is really challenging and a learning experience.
Which other mobile apps or technology have inspired you?
I am a software engineer myself. I have always been inspired by c/c++. My very first program was in C - a TSR program called "wishpond" that sent me birthday reminders of all my contacts. It was really handy in those days considering we had no facebook or whatsapp to remind us.
Apps appeal to me a lot. Apps make you realise the power of the masses. Look at Pokemon - a multi billion dollar app that have given sleepless nights to so many.
Do you have any recommendations or advice for others wanting to create a mobile app?
I'd say follow your dream. If there is any good time to start what you believe in, its now. Get an initial market reaction for your idea and if you feel strongly about it, just give in your 100%. Before you start building the app, make a note to yourself with all the points why you are building it. There will be times when you will start doubting especially with so much changing every single day. This initial note will help you in your journey.
How did you decide which platforms to release your app on and do you plan on releasing your app to other platforms?
As I am an iPhone user, I wanted to ensure I can test the app thoroughly and give more insightful feedback based on my experience.Due to this reason, I decided to roll out the first version on iOS. and then subsequently have an android version of the app soon - mostly by early or mid next year.
How is your app different than the rest of the market? Which unique need does it fill?
The main focus of our app is making celebration special, memorable and creating that wow factor. It takes it to a different level with the features of collaborative wishing that transcends across borders and time zones. We will also consider being integrated into any Corporates internal systems to give a more rewarding experience to employees.
You can view Raise A Toast here
For more information, visit: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/raise-a-toast/id1242873327?ls=1&mt=8