College social media app expands to 30 new campuses in NYC
Baruch College graduate Andi Muskaj, along with a handle of friends and developers, created an app called “Tapt” that has become successful on several college campuses. Tapt is advertised as a platform for students only, meaning that professors and administrators cannot partake in the app.
Tapt administrators work hard to ensure that the app is only open to students with a valid university email address. The goal of Tapt, according to Muskaj, is to widely connect students over a single space.
Mikhail Foenko, a junior at City College at the Grove School of Engineering, and one of the main developers of Tapt, said that the app’s exclusivity is the drawing factor for him. Foenko explains, “I thought at first it was not a very good idea because people already used Facebook and other competing social media outlets. But using the app feels more personally connected than getting random likes on Facebook.”
Tapt is organized so that students can solely access the feed of their own college campus. Anyone can post on the app upon becoming a registered and verified user. Students are also able to see trends in other school feeds, but they are not able to add to them.
The app launched in three senior CUNY colleges, Baruch College among them. Recently the app hit its stride and it is set to branch out into 30 other universities across the state. Initially, the creators intended for the app to branch as far out nationally as possible. They later agreed that they wanted to keep the attention regional for the time being. Tapt is set to launch in 30 colleges in the upcoming two weeks in New York State.
Tapt has also teamed up with Slumped NYC, a party-planning organization with hopes of revolutionizing the college party scene. The partnership will help Slumped NYC engage students across various campuses through the platform, which can be used to create events and send invitations out exclusively to members on the app.
Tapt has also grown organically, employing campus ambassadors to promote the app within individual colleges by hosting events, doing giveaways and speaking to interested students. These campus ambassadors have been going around to various CUNY campuses in particular and advertising the app. Every student who signed up for the app received something in return.
When asked how he thinks Tapt has accumulated so much success, Muskaj said, “we worked our asses off. We made sure we listened to our users.” He mentioned that the team never stops meeting because their priority at the moment is fixing any system bugs before the hard launch. “Our other founder is very active. He interacts with a lot of users with the app and a lot of them reach out to him if there’s a problem or if they have something to add. We also take users out to lunch and talk to them. We offer user testing. We look at a lot of analytics,” Muskaj clarified while working with his team at a local Starbucks.
The real success began, it seems, when an arbitrary user found the app and brought it to his college campus at the University of South Alabama. The user added all of his friends to Tapt and the app quickly became a thriving hotspot of activity in the university. The University of South Alabama provided an expansion beyond anything that was expected.
The app expanded to Alabama accidentally, but it proved fruitful when it created a huge user base outside of the east coast. It brought a new audience in another part of the country and increased the app’s success and reputation.
Before Tapt became its own bold interface, Muskaj and his friends tried to develop “Linute,” an app that is described as Tapt’s predecessor. Unfortunately, Linute did not take off, but its failure led to the team turning to public fundraising for a fresh attempt. Tapt generated $23,000 on Kickstarter initially, surpassing its goal by over $2,000.
After receiving this kind of public support, Muskaj and Nabeel Alamgir, co-founder and CEO of Tapt, developed various features on the app. They launched Baruch’s beta in spring 2016. Eighty-one percent of their users during this launch came back, a shocking retention rate for first-time apps. Their user basis began to grow by an average of 20 percent per week.
One of Tapt’s most attractive features includes an anonymous component designed to let users have an honest conversation and ask anything without fear of repercussion or judgment. With this feature, cyberbullying is a risk that increases significantly, but the developers and creators behind Tapt have installed screening software that checks in with the user prior to posting any seemingly malicious content. Accounts can also be blocked by the moderators if necessary.
Tapt seems to be looking at a lot of potential success due to its sudden growth in popularity and geographically widening expansion. Muskaj hopes that the app will function as its own social dynamic where students can set up, keep track of events and convene without the interference of authority figures. “I think college students are looking for this kind of social platform with no professors and no risk for potential employers to see the stupid stuff they’re doing on campus,” Foenko agrees.