Students can see what’s happening at different locations on and off-campus in real time with a new mobile app developed by Duke alumni.
Radius, a Berkeley, Calif. start-up founded by four alumni last February, developed a web and mobile application that allows users follow conversations surrounding real-world locations—called beacons. Since the release of the beta version in November, there have been more than 500 downloads in Apple’s iTunes Store. The company will launch a redesigned version of their app within the next two weeks.
“We’ve redesigned the beta version, which has 80 percent of the updated features, by making everything more polished,” said Hudson Duan, Pratt ’11 and Radius chief operations officer. “We want to relaunch in grand fashion.”
With the app, users can upload digital files—like photos and comments—that relate to a physical location, Duan said. Student users can create broadcast beacons for their dorm room, Cameron Indoor Stadium or even their classes. Once the beacon is created, students will be able to upload digital files in real time.
Duan added that one of the company’s primary goals is to have the updated version ready in time for the Duke vs. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill men’s basketball game on Feb. 13.
This past summer, Radius was one of 15 apps selected out of a pool of 608 to participate at the Plug and Play Tech Center’s Startup Camp. David Herzka, Pratt ’12 and Radius chief technology officer, noted that the exposure and connections Radius gained from the camp helped push their product forward.
“We were able to see other startups that were going through the same challenges that we were having,” Herzka said. “The camp put us in close contact with people that connected us with potential investors.”
Herzka added that once the company gains traction, the next step will be to put more resources into making an Android version and adding more useful features. As of yet, there have not been any major efforts into marketing.
“We do not know anything about our server load yet, so we are launching it at Duke to see what happens,” Duan said. “We want our product to grow organically, no flyers and traditional marketing—we don’t want to force our product on people.” Radius’ other founders are Fred Ehrsam, Trinity ’10 and Jason Tian, Pratt ’11.
Some Duke students have already begun using Radius. Senior William Nance added that the startup has been a source of inspiration for current Duke students interested in working for their own company.
“It’s exciting to see that there are Duke alumni putting their work out there,” Nance said. “They’ve found the resources to keep themselves afloat to work on this project for the past year.”
Radius is not only aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate, but it also has the potential to grow, said senior Cole Bosson, another beta tester for Radius.
“It became less of me doing a favor for [Hudson] and more of me exploring the app to see what it could be used for,” he added. “If I had to guess, the app has the ability to spread, assuming it gets the right kind of exposure.”