“F-R-E-E”. A four letter word with a unique appeal. You might pride yourself on being a cautious shopper, not easily swayed by the umpteen advertising messages bombarding you on a daily basis. If you are honest, you must admit to an adrenaline rush when faced with a big bold ‘Free’ sign! Pair this word with another four letter word “F-O-O-D,” and you create the Superhero of marketing tools. There is little doubt that those two words will make you stop and do a double take. Especially if you are a student. Free food is like manna from heaven to a student, whose life consists of long hours of study (hopefully), a perpetual lack of sleep, partying, social media networking, and the ceaseless hunt for freebies. Internal listservs and Facebook groups in universities across America are devoted to spreading the word about events that give things away for free on a routine basis.
For U.T. Dallas graduate students, Abinav Varma Kalidindi and Chandra Kiran Achanta, a chance run-in with a fellow student who shared his loot of free pizza turned into an entrepreneurial endeavor. They realized that they had no knowledge of the event where free pizza had been served. The process of navigating multiple social media platforms to find out about these events can turn out to be frustrating. And, by the time you got word of an event featuring a give-away, chances are that you would have missed out on the prize! Here was a gap that could be bridged, and the friends got to work.
Enter Unibees, the latest in the world of start up Apps. Launched in 2016, Unibees is a free app–naturally! The name fittingly resembles the activity of honey bees gathering nectar. It is a phone based, one-stop-shop where students can plug in to various events across university campuses.
Founder Abinav Kalidindi emphasizes that the key to ensure a devoted customer base is to create a hassle-free user experience. “All you need is a unique student email ID. Download the Unibees app, sign in with your email id, complete the simple verification process and you are good to go!”
Event organizers sign up to post information about parties, and concerts. Categorized by event type, it makes for a fuss-free search experience. Businesses around campuses partner with Unibees to offer coupons and incentives targeted at the student population. Moderators check the listing before it goes live. And you have real time, current information at your fingertips, without having to wade through innumerable posts. A win-win for both sides.
Now, you’re a student who has the latest dirt about an event. What’s the next thing you want to do? Yep–share it. Unibees makes this possible by offering a forum for its users to create groups, share, discuss, and post pictures via the “Hive.” It is a collaborative tool, and a creative community building platform.
Currently raising funding, Unibees is poised to go nationwide by early next year. Since its launch in 2016 at UT Dallas, Unibees has expanded to the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A & M and the University of Texas at Arlington. It currently boasts 12,000 users with the numbers increasing every day.
Easy navigability, real time notifications, a categorized search feature, and the Hive that enables sharing-make Unibees a complete ecosystem and keeps its bees buzzing. Their tag line says it all–Free Food and Entertainment is always a Sweet Deal!