DMZ startups launch apps to Ryerson University community
One of the advantages of being a startup at a university incubator or accelerator is that you have access to a large and diverse set of users to try out your apps with. Our friends at Ryerson University's dynamic Digital Media Zone (or simply, "the Zone" to insiders) in Toronto are making sure their student startups can take full advantage of this opportunity.
They've arranged for Ryerson students, faculty and staff to have access to three new free online and mobile services this fall that were developed by Zone startups HitSend, Greengage and WhoPlusYou. The startups get a large pool of users. The university students and staff get access to useful apps. Everyone wins. Well done, Digital Media Zone.
Here's some background about those companies and their products:
- HitSend has created SoapBox which allows a community to suggest and prioritize ideas, and then send them directly to key decision makers. Executives spend less time figuring out what their community wants so they have more time to actually make change. SoapBox, which has also partnered with businesses like Indigo, The Walrus and Vitamin Water, will now be available to everyone at the university. The app previously ran a successful one-year pilot at Ryerson's library services department. For instance, one student's suggestion to extend library operating hours gained enough support that the library is now open longer throughout the week. Ryerson students can use SoapBox to suggest improvements to the school and agree or disagree with their peers' ideas. University officials will receive a prioritized list of ideas, so they can start with the most important ones and work their way down the list. Students can watch their ideas pass through various stages, including "In Consideration," "Accepted", "In Progress" and finally "Completed".
- Greengage: Greengage Mobile is a mobile app that helps organizations such as universities and companies educate, create awareness and foster participation in sustainability initiatives while allowing management to track sustainability goals in a streamlined fashion. This fall, Greengage will begin awarding Ryerson staff and students "Greengage points" as they use the app to find tips on how to be more sustainable around campus. The Greengage app includes everything from where to go to get back to nature, to where to get deals on local beer, to how to get involved with Ryerson's renewable energy initiatives. Users will be entered to win prizes as their Greengage points build up throughout the year.
- WhoPlusYou: This app lets users share any combination of academic, professional and volunteer experience with employers. It uses sophisticated personal profiling tools that create matches between users and relevant job market opportunities. Its web engine gathers, analyzes and filters current job information from the Globe 1350 and the Forbes 2000 to send users job postings that are specifically related to their academic, work and volunteer experience. During its beta release, WhoPlusYou garnered more than 5,000 users and more than 2,000 top North American employers. The app is now available to Ryerson students, who can build a digital portfolio and get connected with jobs that are relevant to their qualifications and experience. Students can visit http://www.ryerson.ca/wpy to create their WhoPlusYou profile.
"The launching of these products and services Ryerson-wide is a tangible example of a win-win courtesy of the Digital Media Zone," said Ryerson president Sheldon Levy. "The young entrepreneurs win because they get a top-notch experiential learning opportunity to develop and test their innovations in a real-world environment. Ryerson students win with access to cutting-edge technology helping them be more sustainable, find great jobs and make meaningful change on campus."
"The DMZ was created so that young people would have a space to turn their digital media ideas into reality," said Val Fox (pictured here), executive director of the Digital Media Zone. "We are very proud of HitSend, Greengage and WhoPlusYou for successfully launching their services to the Ryerson community. What better way for all of our new and returning students to get introduced to the DMZ and learn the benefits we can provide to every Ryerson student?"