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Students design ‘Socialyze’ app, reward friendship with savings

Two Buckeyes have come together to create an app that rewards friendships with savings.

Socialyze targets local favorites like Buckeye Donuts, Lucky’s Stout House, Fourth Street Bar and Grill, Plaza Mexican Grill and more. Credit: Courtesy of Salem Khan

Tyler Stohr, a fourth-year in geographic information sciences, and Salem Khan, an Ohio State business graduate, combined forces last January to create Socialyze, an app that rewards friend groups for going out –– depending on how many people come along.

“The basic idea is that you get better discounts based on how many friends you have with you,” Stohr said. “All these deals are completely customizable by the business. It can be a number of friends or how long it lasts –– which days, which times and what you get for the offer.”

Socialyze targets local favorites like Buckeye Donuts, Lucky’s Stout House, Fourth Street Bar and Grill and Plaza Mexican Grill. Depending on how many friends each business requires, users can earn a variety of discounts.

I did some research and it was about 80 percent of college students basically hang out in groups of twos, threes and fours,” Khan said. “So I [thought] that’s pretty good because basically if you can track groups of friends at a specific location that’s good for the business as well as for a group of friends, versus in this case, friendship is rewarded with savings.”

For example, a business like Cazuela’s might offer happy hour deals during peak hours for groups of at least three.

It’s a win-win relationship because customers get the great deals and the business gets three or four people in the door,” he said.

The idea behind Socialyze came from Khan, who saw how much his own friend group spent going out, along with the difficulty of actually deciding on a place to go. Khan said he knew if that was a common problem for himself, it had to be a problem in other friend groups.  

After trying to create the app himself, Khan decided to attend a Code that Cares meeting, a campus group designed to build iOS applications for charity and nonprofit organizations that is founded and headed by Stohr. After meeting Stohr, however, the pair decided to head the project together.

Since launching this past August, they’ve used techniques like networking, giving out free cookies or shot glasses and Snapchat geofilters to market Socialyze. The pair is planning to expand by hosting fundraisers with student organizations and Greek life.

As of right now, Socialyze has officially signed with 12 businesses. Stohr said they’re working on deals with popular companies like Berry Blendz, Trism, Donatos and Leo’s, but is also working on expanding to bigger eateries like Wendy’s and Panda Express.

“The goal is to get every business on there,” Stohr said. “We want great deals from everyone’s favorite places.”

Though Socialyze isn’t a funded app yet, Khan and Stohr see a lot of value for students in what it can do. If it does work out, they said they hope to use the capital to better their marketing, sales and usership to provide the best app experience they can.

“This is an application for rewarding friendships, so rewarding friendships in money –– that’s the main goal here,” said. “Bringing people together, making sure that people have that interaction with people and going out versus just putting the pictures on Instagram.”

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