ASU student's contact exchange app debuts online
When Jake Slatnick, a sophomore at the College of Technology and Innovation, wanted to exchange phone numbers with a group of students he met at a football game, he realized there was no easy way to do it. Traditionally, he would have to key in every contact’s name and phone number, which alone can be cumbersome, while additional forms of contact information like personal email and website, social media sites and professional information would make the process even more of a hassle.
“I knew I wanted to figure out a way to make this transaction easier,” Slatnick said. “There was no easy and quick way to exchange contact information between an entire group.”
That’s when he developed Tap Contact Exchange, a mobile app that allows users to easily bundle and exchange information. The app debuted in the Apple Store and on Android’s Google Play last month.
The app requires the user to create various “Tap cards” that categorize information for different purposes. For example, a user might have business contact information on a networking Tap card, personal contact information on a social Tap card, or school-related contact information on a separate Tap card, Slatnick says.
The app locates Tap Contact Exchange users nearby. To give out a Tap card, users first send out a request to a contact that will appear within the selected radius (users can select a range of up to five miles). Once the request is granted, users decide on what Tap card to send. If you no longer wish for a contact to have your information, click the “Tap back” button and your information will automatically be taken out of their contact list.
The app also syncs with your device’s native contact list, ensuring that changes made to one or the other will keep the contact list updated.
Slatnick, a technological entrepreneurship and management major, says that he began raising money from private investors in September 2011 while conducting market research. Part of Slatnick’s success in launching the app is due in part from collaborating with CTI professors throughout the process.
“I tried to make the process as interdisciplinary as possible,” Slatnick said. “I leveraged the wisdom of experts in different fields like engineering, psychology, mobile technology and entrepreneurship to have a truly complete understanding of my market.”
Part of Slatnick’s research included weekly meetings with CTI faculty in these fields who helped launch his idea.
“All of the professors in CTI have been so helpful and have motivated me every step of the way to never give up on this idea,” Slatnick said.
As CEO of Tap Contact Exchange, Slatnick is joined by fellow CTI students Michael Howell, Joseph Stratton, Brandon Sleater and Christopher Riha.
“CTI has been the best place to find innovative and driven students who want to make ideas happen,” Slatnick said. “Just like most students here, I am passionate about the vision of CTI, and I hope CTI will start receiving even more recognition from future students as a place where you can turn your ideas into reality.”
Slatnick says his design process echoes that of what CTI professors teach daily: to examine the problem on multiple levels, incorporate the knowledge of others in various fields and come together to create a solution.
“My advice to other students would be to expect interruptions,” Slatnick said. “Every single week a problem will come up that will make you want to quit, but don’t let that stop you. Also, listen to those around you and really soak in what they’re saying. It’s refreshing to look at a problem from a different perspective.”
Slatnick hopes to someday start a company that focuses on building cool and innovative products.
“Everything being technology-based is the future, and I want to be a part of that movement,” Slatnick said.
Written by: Sydney B. Donaldson