Daniel Gresham '18, Jalen Lynch '20, and Robert Seals '15 tell the story behind the creation of Vuzag, their social search engine app that won the Big iDeas contest, and the liberal arts skills that got them where they are today.
The impetus behind Vuzag came from a simple question: What’s going on tonight? When they weren’t on the football field, teammates Daniel Gresham '18 and Robert Seals '15 would often ask each other this question, leading them to envision a platform where they could get information on local events happening at that moment. “At the time I was taking a few computer science classes at SMU,” said Robert Seals, a sociology major. “So, I decided to create an app we could use to solve that problem and it evolved into Vuzag.” Through football, Seals and Gresham connected with Jalen Lynch, a markets and culture major from the Dallas area who now serves as Business Relations Director while completing his senior year. Lynch entered the idea in SMU’s Big iDeas pitch contest and won, earning the team access to the SMU Incubator space where they still operate. The three found that with the diverse skills they developed at SMU and access to the resources and entrepreneurial spirit of the city of Dallas, they had the ideal environment for their venture. “The faculty at SMU create a community where creative and unorthodox ideas are welcomed and encouraged,” explained Gresham who studied applied physiology and sport management. “Being a part of that environment for four years helped me to develop skills in fields I never knew about as a child, like software development and more.”
Vuzag started to transform even more when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. “Living through Harvey, I was able to see how the community came together to help each other,” described Seals. “This inspired us to build a living, breathing, self-serving ecosystem. Vuzag is a [social search] platform that connects people to their communities.” With a mostly visual display, locations establish a virtual personality and can interact and engage with users through personalized information, while users explore a live social snapshot of their area. Seals, Gresham, and Lynch now see the potential Vuzag can have on college campuses, having gotten their jumping off point at SMU. “I see Vuzag enhancing campus life for students across the globe, while also helping nonprofits and charities get their message out there like never before,” explained Lynch. With a current focus on listening to the community they’ve built here in Dallas and providing the best possible platform to service them, they envision expanding to other major cities.