Latest posts by J Jackson (see all)
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Over the last eight years, her development has thus far proven her to be a tennis phenom- June 10, 2018
- Paul Ryan Posts Selfie With All Of The Capitol Interns and It Exposes A Very Real Issue
Paul Ryan posts picture of Capitol Hill interns with almost NO ethnic diversity- July 19, 2016
- 10 Things We As African Americans Can Do To Move Our Community Forward
It is time for us to stop addressing the symptoms and begin addressing the root of the problem- July 8, 2016
Angel Davis and Lauren Washington Develop an Innovative Way to Stay On Top of The Important Events on Your Timelines
How many lattes, cat videos and #selfies do you have to scroll through on your Instagram feed before getting fed up and switching over to Facebook? And how many minutes do you spend on Facebook where there are more of the same, plus an additional hundred news article links, videos and Buzzfeed quizzes? How long does it take you to scroll through a day’s worth of irrelevant social media? And how often does something important go unnoticed or get lost in a sea of #tbt’s or #wcw’s?
If your answer to any of these questions is “too many,” “too much” or “too often,” you’re definitely not alone.
Long-time friends Lauren Washington and Angel Davis have been dealing with these same struggles for too long and have created the perfect solution. KeepUp is a brand new social media-managing app that launched in beta in May. Since then, the app has gained nearly six hundred downloads from the App Store and it’s still only in its beginning stages! Washington explains that once the app re-launches in the fall, they’ll be whole-heartedly pushing it out there and trying to up the downloads. But right now, it’s all about getting feedback, building a solid community of users and perfecting their new service.
So what is this life-changing app, you ask? Upon clicking and opening up the little orange icon, you are prompted to choose from six different social media platforms- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr and LinkedIn. Once you have given KeepUp access to your feeds, it will start working its magic! The app filters through all the junk and alerts you of important events on your feed, which are totally customizable to include- birthdays, anniversaries, births, graduations, weddings, new jobs, promotions, new homes, engagements, city moves, news mentions and new pets! You tell KeepUp what you want to hear about, and with their algorithms and keyword searches, you may never have to see another burrito bowl on social media again.
KeepUp was one of eleven finalists in a pool of applicants from 96 countries and all 50 states in the 43North’s business idea competition. On October 30th, 2014 the pair pitched their idea (watch their final pitch here!) to a stage of judges and was awarded $250,000 to get their business going. Washington explains that winning the contest and capturing the attention of the judges was all about presentation and public speaking. The two reminisce, and note that people were actually complimenting them on their presentation slides and their ability to tell a story upon the finale of the contest. They both acknowledge that the prize and support from 43North has been a game-changer. Davis says, “The ability to build a team and fast-track our development process was huge.” “We would have figured out a way to do it no matter what, but it doesn’t hurt to have a quarter million dollars right out of the gate!” Washington admits.
When entering a contest with applicants from around the world, one would think that their biggest concern with putting their idea out there would be rejection, or failure. But not for these two ambitious women, their biggest concern was doing it! Since this had become a prevalent issue in their lives, the only thing they were really concerned about was the urgency they felt to get this idea out there and get an app in the works. In talking to many of their friends and lots of others along the way, Davis and Washington realized that they weren’t the only two dealing with these pressing issues. “There were so many people having the same problem, we needed to get it out there in order to improve people’s lives,” the two reveal.
The pair explains that they want people to be excited about social media again. They want to take the “work” out and make it a platform to share positive life experiences and things that we actually want to celebrate. That’s actually their reasoning behind choosing orange as the color for their brand! They feel that orange highlights excitement and energy and brings a positive vibe to something that has begun to feel a bit cumbersome. KeepUp aims to connect its users to the things that they love and feel are most important in their life, without the fuss or hassle of scrolling through irrelevant little bits of information. Davis explains that it’s all about simplicity and getting us back to the basics, “we want to make social media social again,” she explains.
So far, things have been running rather smoothly for Davis and Washington. As they explain, the most difficult hurdle to surpass has been acquiring the necessary approval from each of the six social media platforms. With six different log-ins and approval processes, it took quite some time for the development to actually come together. As of now, the six sites present on KeepUp are the most popular and most widely used social media platforms. However, Washington explains that in the years to come, should some other media networks begin to take over, they do have plans to accommodate and add to the app or change things around in order to offer the most usability and functionality to their users. The two are learning as they go and absorbing ways to do things more efficiently. “Everything we have learned so far, along the way has strengthened us as a company. It’s all a learning experience,” they admit, amusedly.
The most rewarding parts for them so far, have been seeing their app out there, and getting feedback and comments on their product. “Seeing your idea come to life, seeing the fruition of your hard work and seeing people loving it, has been amazing,” they explain. Davis explicates that the community has been wonderful and they have all been given really great feedback.
When asked about being women in the overwhelmingly male dominated technology industry, the two responded with nothing but positivity and pride. “So far, it’s been great with 43North. We’ve had a great community of entrepreneurs and mentors that have helped us along the way. It’s been a great environment,” they explain. Since there has been much buzz in the media lately revolving around women, minorities and technology, this seems as though it’s the perfect time to make this conversation come to life. The duo is excited to “pave the way for women of color in this new frontier.”
As for advice to other underrepresented demographics on breaking into the industry and launching their ideas, Washington explains it’s really all about clarity of vision. “It’s really important,” she says. “It’s all about having a strong will and making sure you clearly understand the problem you are solving,” explains Davis. It is with these qualities and the ability to overcome the obstacles and hurdles that are thrown your way, that the pair believes it is possible to break into any industry.
Right now, the duo is focusing on making KeepUp the best that it can possibly be, which means getting the bugs out and really streamlining the algorithms. Washington explains that the most important things right now is trying to make this app the best, most beautiful app it can be, and really bringing their vision to life. The goal for now is to keep things simple and useful, while perfecting them. The two also plan to partner with brands like Target, Macy’s and Home Depot to incorporate in-app purchases as a way to allow users to send gifts and cards directly to their friends in celebrating these big life events. They are currently working on launching an Android version in the near future. We can expect to see the full app launch in the fall, but for now, Washington and Davis are just plugging along, full of ambition and promise for the future. “We know that we can grow this into a possible business,” Washington says. To keep up with KeepUp, visit them at www.keepupapp.com. You can also download the KeepUp app from the Apple app store.