Joep Annega (BScIBA 2017 and a student of business information management), Thomas Smulders BScIBA 2017 and MSc Marketing Management 2018) and Melvin Wezenberg (BScIBA 2017 and MSc Business Information Management 2018) started developing the idea and writing a business plan almost two years ago.
“We noticed that there was just no overview of all the events happening on and off campus hosted by all the student associations. We also saw that associations were handing out so many paper flyers and thought there had to be a better way,” said Joep. “The uptake has been great, our launch went really well and we’re in the process of setting up Uni-Life at a few university colleges in the Netherlands now too.
Reminders and registration in the app
The Uni-Life app is available on the Apple App Store and on Google Play, and lists local student-run events and associations at each university. Users can find events that match their interests, or search for new things to try today, tomorrow, next week or next month, and can save reminders and register for events using the app.
There are currently six partner universities using the app; Erasmus University Rotterdam; Amsterdam University College; Leiden University College The Hague; University College Groningen; University College Tilburg; and University College Utrecht.
“We’re super thankful that Erasmus University really liked the idea and made Uni-Life their official event platform.
“We’re looking to expand within The Netherlands quickly, and any university can become a partner and have their account setup within a day,” says Joep. “We thought the app was needed for two reasons. First, there was just no overview of events, so students were missing out on some great events. And second, Erasmus University wants to be more sustainable so we can’t still be handing out flyers. We actually did some research last year, and it turns out that over 95 per cent of flyers handed out on campus are also thrown away on campus.”
It all started about two years ago. Following Joep’s idea, they started writing a business plan, but completing their bachelor programmes became a priority and they took a break from developing Uni-Life. “We only really started working on the idea fully in September 2017,” they said.
Bedroom office and a gap year
Joep Annega took a gap year to work on it, with Thomas Smulders and Melvin Wezenberg working during any spare time they had. Joep’s bedroom became the office where they started setting up the business , working with the external app development company App-Vise for four months to develop the website, content management system and the Android and iOS versions of the app. “As we aren’t developers we only focussed on the business side”. The great thing about setting up a tech firm is that you can work from practically anywhere in the world as long as you have your laptop and a wi-fi connection,” said Joep.
Once they had established themselves a bit more and secured the funding, they moved out of Joep’s bedroom and rented an office. This year, the Uni-Life team will be working on campus in Mandeville building.
The Uni-Life team is ‘super happy’ with their September launch results after a busy summer. Even now they’re busy running new marketing campaigns to get as many students onboard as possible. “We know downloading an app can be quite a hassle, but we see students opening the app quite a lot to see what’s going on. We also really appreciate any feedback users may have so that we can continue improving the app.”
The Uni-Life app is available on the Apple App Store and on Google Play.