WiGo-Who is Going Out?

As college students, we all want to go out at night. We also want to know who is going out at night. With this in mind, Burlington native Ben Kaplan created an app to solve this problem. It’s called WiGo—Who is Going Out? After entering and winning Holy Cross’s Shark Tank competition, Ben has launched the app nationally and is running his business out of Boston. Read about how this young entrepreneur came to launch his very own start-up!

Tell us about yourself.

I’m 22 years old and am from Burlington, VT. My mom teaches at the UVM College of Medicine, and I went to Burlington High School for two years before I left to attend St. Paul’s School. I was also a D1 hockey player at Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.

How did you come up with the idea for WiGo? Explain how the app works.

I came up with the idea in my freshman year dorm room. I wondered why there wasn't a simple way to organize social plans with lots of friends from my school, so I built one.

WiGo is the first social networking app that shows college students who at their school is going out and where they’re headed, every single night. WiGo resets every morning, so everything from the night before is wiped clean. You can “tap” people to notify them that you want to see them out, and chat with other people who are going out as well. Essentially, it’s your one-stop-shop for making plans for the night.

Explain the process of actually building the app and creating your start-up.

I learn a ton every day—the start-up community is very supportive of one another. We hired amazing developers from companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Zappos, and Kayak to actually create the WiGo app.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you have faced along the way?

WiGo is more powerful of a tool with the more people at each school use it. Getting critical mass at some of the bigger schools has been our biggest challenge, but we're confident it'll happen, with thousands of new users from across the U.S. joining every day.

 

What has been the most rewarding part of this whole journey?

Working with amazingly smart and talented people has been extremely rewarding. Seeing WiGo pop up in over 700 schools across the country and hearing people’s genuine excitement about the app is also exciting. Everyone can’t wait for WiGo to unlock at their school and to start using it.

Explain what going into work everyday is like.

There’s a very casual atmosphere. Our office converts into a club at night for our private events, like our WiGo launch party (side note: I was actually able to go to this, it was a blast!). There’s also a keg, which is my favorite part.

Best part about living in Boston/running your business out of Boston?

There are tons of college students and young entrepreneurs around. It’s an amazing place to start a company. Also, the West Coast is over saturated with social media startups.

Where do you see this app in 5 to 10 years?

We're going to be the #1 social planning app for college students. It's hard to say exactly how we will evolve, but we're excited to keep learning from our users and making the best product possible.

Do you foresee yourself starting any new projects anytime soon?

I'm 100% focused on WiGo right now. With that said, I've been thinking of ideas since I was a young boy so my mind is always churning. I try to identify inconveniences in my own life, and think of simple ways to make those inconveniences suck a little less.

Any advice for potential entrepreneurs/recent post-grads in general?

Build out a prototype and start getting user feedback as quickly as possible. You'd be surprised how much your idea will evolve from what you originally intend after getting it in the hands of real people.

To satisfy our UVMers: favorite thing about Burlington, and favorite thing to do in Burlington?

I love Lake Champlain, Church St. and the fall foliage. Burlington is an amazing place to grow up and go to college. We're all very lucky :)

 

Check out the website!

http://www.wigo.us/