BYU Students Develop swop App

By Clint Betts:

swopClose your eyes.

Imagine meeting someone at a party, the grocery store, an off-the-chain Beehive Startups event, or a family reunion (I don’t know half the people who come to those things) and being able to snag all of their pertinent contact and social media information without having to stalk them online, or ask them to type all of that boring crap into your phone while you just stand there looking like an idiot. Imagine a world without business cards. Imagine all the people, living life in peace.

Now open your eyes and read that last paragraph real quick to get caught up on what we’re talking about here.

swop, founded by three currently deferred BYU students, is an app that allows users to easily swop (well, swap) contact information. We’re no longer boarding a train headed to the Imagination Station, my friends. Welcome to real life.

Here’s a video unlike any startup video I’ve ever seen that showcases swop and makes you wish you were also a deferred BYU student.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.

“We came by the idea of swop through various social encounters that we had,” said swop co-founder Sean O’Rourke in a recent sit-down interview with Beehive Startups. “The primary one that we always use in our pitches came from our founder, the original, the ideator, Mitch Fultz. He had this interaction with a girl he’d known from a long time ago.”

Of course swop was conceived based upon an interaction with a girl. If you think about it, we all exist based upon an interaction with a girl.

“It was one of those classic situations where you know the face but you can’t remember the name,” said O’Rourke. “He spoke with her for a while, trying to get little hints out of her by asking questions about her family, asking about mutual friends… anything to help jog his memory to remember her name.

“Then it got to that point in the conversation where it feels natural to exchange contact info because you’re going to catch up later on — even though you never really end up catching up. So he pulled the classic move of handing her his phone with an open contact so that she could enter her own contact info, but the sad thing is she didn’t enter her name, only her phone.

“He got that back, pretty upset, so now he has this contact in his phone with no name attached to it. Then he text her with his name hoping she would text back with hers. No luck. He went and searched for her through mutual friends on Facebook. No luck. Turns out she didn’t have Facebook.

“That’s how the idea for swop was born, from an awkward moment of contact exchange.”

It’s a tale as old as time. This classic love story ended just like every romantic comedy ever made — with an iOS app, available in the App Store on Friday. Android coming soon.

swopUp until now, swop has been operating in stealth mode with just a small group of beta users, who, according to swop’s founders, have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the app.

“I think the best way to express their positivity is the frequency that they come to us and tell us about situations during the day where they just wanted to say ‘Let’s just swop’ or ‘I wish we both had swop,’” said O’Rourke.

swop will officially launch when the popular band Neon Trees takes the stage at the Rooftop Concert Series in Provo, Utah this Friday night.

The startup has big plans to begin amassing a large amount of users in just a short amount of time.

“We have a goal of 100,000 users in the first two weeks,” said co-founder Jameson Gardner.

That may seem like an unrealistic goal, but I’m starting to think I may have buried the lede on this story. swop isn’t your typical student-run startup. They’re backed by investors both inside and outside of Utah and have already raised around $500,000 to help make sure this launch is successful.

“We’d love to hit a million users by the end of October,” said Gardner. “It’s really ambitious, but we feel with the events we have planned, we feel like it’s a very feasible goal.”

In order to achieve that goal, swop is sponsoring this week’s BYU-Utah State football game and will be blanketing the stadium with advertisements and holding a massive student tailgate party. They’re also sponsoring the Spark Run in Orlando, and partnering with universities across the country — Arizona State, UCLA, the University of Washington, among others — where they’ll be holding events and tailgating parties where in order for attendees to get in for free they’ll have to download swop.

So, yeah, not your typical student-run startup. Sorry I didn’t mention that earlier.

The three founders have only been working on swop since April, which makes what swop has already managed to accomplish even more impressive.

They’ve brought on Dave Durazzani, who is currently DOMO’s Principal Mobile Engineer, as their CTO. swop has a very real chance of picking up where Bump left off. Bump had more than 125 million downloads before Google acquired it for a reported $35 million and closed it down.

The swop founders are young, hungry, committed, and have the talent to pull this thing off. This is a Utah startup to keep your eye on.

Expect a call from every investor in Utah after they read this story, gentlemen. (They can find your contact information on swop, right?) Just don’t sell out to Google or any of our other tech overlords any time soon.

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