Ever wanted to hang out with friends, but weren’t sure who was available? Instead of sending out that dreaded mass text, Stephen Ost, founder of Ufree, wants to make it even easier to find out which of your friends are available to hang out the moment you open the app.
Ost is a graduate of the Arizona Center for Innovation (AzCI) and was named by Entrepreneur magazine as one of five finalists vying nationally for the “College Entrepreneur of the Year” award.
He also presented at Startup Tucson, a weekend-long, hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs discover if startup ideas are viable. I spoke to Ost about how he came up with Ufree and his advancements.
How did this idea come together?
Ufree brings friends together in real-time. Rather than texting friends asking if they are free, you just open Ufree and see a list of your nearby friends who are ready to hang out in real-time. It makes planning instantaneously very simple.
I came up with it while I was in a situation trying to find friends to hang out with. I was a student at the University of Arizona and I left class wondering who I could hang out with. I texted friends asking but realized that this was not an efficient method. I looked for apps that could do what I was envisioning Ufree to be able to do and nothing existed. With my background in computer science, I decided to start developing it.
Who is your customer base?
Our initial target market are college students. Eventually, with growth, we will be looking at solutions for the corporate world.
What are some of the cool features?
Ufree shares your availability in real time with your friends-no other apps do this, and that feature is what sets Ufree above the rest. The benefit is when you realize how many hang out opportunities are lost due to the fact that you were not exposed to this information before.
What type of responses have you received since Startup Tucson?
Startup Tucson is an organization which hosts events that sometimes include pitching. The first time I pitched Ufree was at a Startup Tucson event called “Startup Weekend” back in August 2012. That was the first time I met some of the entrepreneurs in the community as well as the angel investors. It was incredible to see the excitement of people when I told them about Ufree.
So what’s next?
I see a huge future for Ufree. Ufree will grow virally and can be easily implemented in many different areas of society. Due to this, there is no limitation for our expansion. I see Ufree being the app college students naturally open as soon as they leave a classroom.
Where can we get it?
Ufree can be downloaded in the App Store for iPhones. Android is currently being developed.
Watch Ufree’s DEMO HERE.
Read about more Arizona Startups here.
5 thoughts on “Startup Ufree makes hanging out with friends a breeze”
The article is unclear.
Is this a “chatroom”?
Or is this a geolocation mapping in realtime who is online and where they are sort of app?
Either way, “Entrepreneur of the year”? Wow.
Ufree uses your live availability and geolocation to share and discover your nearby friends who are ready to hang out in real-time. It is much different than the current apps you might be thinking. Ufree displays your friends within a certain radius so you know they are close to hang out with rather than displaying a pin point location.
So this is like Google latitudes before they shut that down.
Google Latitude was specifically used to share your pinpoint location with your friends, just like Find My Friends by Apple. Ufree focuses on live availability adding location as an enhancement. Ufree creates a new category of apps designed to share free time.
I appreciate your continuing to clarify what Ufree is trying to do. Thank you for that. I am not sure how location is now an enhancement. At the risk of another bumbling analogy, it’s like Google Latitude but also showing that there are open tables at the nearby Starbucks or the Tilted Kilt.
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