The WhatsOn app for students in Delft has been downloaded more than 1,700 times since its launch in March of this year. Now it has been nominated for the Accenture Innovation Competition. The company has big plans for the future, explains co-founder and TU Delft graduate, Tunmise Odediran.
1,700 downloads. Your app seems to fill a void. What void is that?
“We provide information for both international and new Dutch students that many take for granted. Information is often gained through word of mouth and sometimes by chance. For example, some students cycle past the StuD building every day without ever knowing that they can find part-time work there. We also alert them to ways they can save money, such as good deals and government subsidies."
“And we help students meet new people by showing them social and cultural events on campus. I always used to think Delft was only for studying, until I joined an association and made some Dutch friends. Furthermore, we try to show students that there is more to their studies than just passing courses by providing an overview of all the extra-curricular activities.”
Would you call your app a success?
“I would not say that we are a complete success yet. Every day we continue to learn and improve. For us, our measure of success is a strong community empowered by our app, where students could not envision a student life without it. But I do believe we have come so far in a short space of time because of the receptiveness, enthusiasm and feedback from the student community and the support from people working in the various departments of TU Delft.”
How is it even possible to do the work you do? Your app is free. Is the content sponsored?
“We are currently a multidisciplinary and multicultural team of nine students or recent graduates. We all work part-time at other jobs or studies while working on WhatsOn. Although we have started approaching local businesses, we have been explicit about wanting to build good relationships first. Our aim is not to have sponsored content or be just a stereotypical advertising platform. We want to create an ecosystem of local businesses that have the best interests of students at heart.”
What would winning the Accenture Innovation Competition mean to you, and how would it help your company?
“It would mean the world to us, because it would show us that what we are doing truly has potential and a positive impact. Of course, individual students have contacted us and told us that the app has helped them tremendously, but winning this competition would prove to us that the greater public sees the value in what we are trying to achieve. That would bring us greater exposure and credibility.”
What are your plans for the future?
“We are currently finalising the next release of our app, which we hope to release later this month. We are also devising a plan on how we can expand our app to a new university and replicate what we have done in Delft. In October, we intend to start formally looking for investors and funding, because all of us working full-time will be the only way to take our start-up to its fullest potential.”
You can vote for WhatsOn here.