Looking for the best party on a Saturday night?
The answer might be found in a phone, as Moves, a new, location-based app designed by three Yale students, seeks to help students navigate college nightlife around Yale and New Haven. Moves allows its user base, which is currently restricted to people with a Yale email address, to see where parties are being held on campus and how many other users of the app are attending.
The app, which has found initial success and just over 1,000 downloads in the first weeks of the semester, was initially created by Chris Moore ’19 after he ran into difficulties finding parties that were neither too crowded nor too empty. After work on the app got underway with Moore, the team behind Moves grew to include Owais Khan ’19 and Gray Newfield ’19. Although a party app named Huddlr with a very similar premise to Moves was developed by Yale students in 2014 before fading into obscurity, the trio of Moore, Newfield and Khan told the News that they have confidence in their own innovative take on event planning.
“The thing about Moves that we thought was so appealing was that it’s a pretty simple interface, much like the Yale Dining app,” Moore said. “All you need to do is have the app open when you enter parties and you’ll be marked through GPS; you can see where the most people are, where your friends are.”
Moves allows users to see how many of their Facebook friends are within the range of a party, which are culled from Facebook events or user-generated lists within the app. Moore added that to prevent breaches of privacy the app does not, by default, identify which of your Facebook friends are at each party. If a user does want to keep track of which parties a specific friend is attending throughout the night, it is possible to make oneself visible to select others on the app’s live updating map by becoming another user’s friend within Moves.
The Moves team, however, does not want to just cover parties, but seeks to list all sorts of community gatherings. Newfield noted that he imagines Moves as “less of a party app, more of a community app.” Moore brought up, for example, that they had previously put Yale soccer games on the app so their users could see how many people were turning out to watch, or how many of their friends were present.
Newfield noted that because so much of college social life relies on word-of-mouth and Facebook invitations, he is excited to market the app to students who want to find good parties more easily.
“We want to give people a way to say ‘I want to go do something right now, how do I find something to do?’” said Newfield. “You can host private or public events; the app is both intimate and communal in that sense.”
For members of Yale’s computer science community who want to see a larger entrepreneurial culture develop on campus, Moves’ success has come across as very promising. Felipe Pires ’19, president of the Yale Computer Society, said that following the approach of Moves to build new apps at Yale is the “right way forward” for the computer science community.
“The culture of CS at Yale is not very entrepreneurial right now, and that’s something we’re trying to change,” he said.
Pires also noted that he was impressed by how many conversations he had heard among first years using the app, many of whom, he says, have found Moves so useful that they assume it has been around for years and is as much a staple of life at Yale as the dining hall app.
Celia Martinez ’21, a first year in Trumbull, said that she does not use the app because she has enough friends who use the app and already keep her updated on which parties look promising. And Alec Bernal ’21 said that he most appreciates the app’s ability to circumvent the need to wander around with friends looking for fun parties.
Moves has already begun reaching out to bars and restaurants in the New Haven area to add them to the network. The goal, explained Moore, is to keep on actively working with local venues and social groups on campus to post their events on Moves until students acclimate and begin posting more events of their own. The future of the app will be further determined at the Yale-Harvard game, when Moore, Newfield and Khan hope to popularize Moves among Harvard students seeking a fun night out while visiting Yale. Besides hoping to launch their app at other Ivy League schools later on in the school year, the Moves team also has the question of funding on their minds.
“I’ve already been in touch with venture capital firms about this, I’m not going to say which ones yet, but they expressed interest and want to see where this goes,” Khan said.
Moves is available on both Android and iPhone.
Britton O’Daly | email@example.com