BYU students create app to make ‘swopping’ information easy

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Swop allows easy information sharing with just a few swipes. (Sean O'Rourke)
Swop allows easy information sharing with just a few swipes. (Sean O’Rourke)

Three BYU students have grown tired of the inconvenience of trying to find and contact other students to make information connections, so they want to solve the problem with an app.

Mitch Fultz, Jameson Gardner and Sean O’Rourke have created Swop, a new mobile app that connects its users across multiple communication platforms in one location.

“More than anything, we want to make the process of sharing information easier for everyone,” O’Rourke said. “The saving grace of exchange is what we intend Swop to be.”

The free geo-social networking app allows its users to see a list of others with Swop in their vicinity. From there, people can instantly connect with each other by requesting email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook accounts, Instagram usernames and Twitter handles. The app eliminates the need for people to type that kind of information into each other’s phones.

Swop was released for its iOS beta launch Oct. 3. Feedback has been positive, although some students feel there is room for improvement. BYU senior Brinley Murphy, an early Swop user, reported that some of her attempted swops failed to go through. She also wishes the app had a search function.

Swop participants  at the launch party in September. (Sean O'Rourke)
Swop participants at the launch party in September. (Sean O’Rourke)

“It’s still not very user friendly,” Murphy said. “But if they work out the bugs, I think it’s a really convenient way to connect with the new people you meet.”

The Swop team purposely released the most basic form of the app in order to hear customer responses and see how people wanted to potentially use the app.

“We’re in the beta period right now,” said Fultz, CEO of Swop. “This is just the bare minimum. In the next few weeks, a lot of meat is going to be added to the product.”

Fultz and his team plan to upgrade the iPhone version by the end of October, including features that will allow users to search for specific names, view their personal Swop history and add more social media platforms. Additionally, they will release a Swop app for Android early November.

“Swop is going to be on steroids,” Fultz said.

Fultz, Gardner and O’Rourke had not always planned on venturing into the tech world. Majoring in finance, microbiology and advertising, respectively, they had only a few short months to learn the digital language before the app’s release.

“The best way to describe our transition into the tech world is ‘drinking from a firehose,'” O’Rourke said. “It was a huge learning curve.”

The three friends made up for their initial lack of tech skills and are currently deferred from BYU to dedicate the semester to Swop. A Domo, Inc. software developer and a group of interns complete their team.

“We’re as shocked as everyone else that it’s spread as fast as it has,” O’Rourke said. “But we give 200 percent every second of every day. That’s why we’ve come as far as we have.”

Rapper Sammy Adams, Provo’s Rooftop Concert Series, BYU Athletics and Puppies for Rent have partnered with Swop to sponsor events together. Students can expect to see the Swop team promoting the app at BYU’s homecoming football game Oct. 18.

Swop plans to throw more launch parties and events both locally and around the nation in the coming weeks. The creators hope to expand the app’s reach to other universities, artists and businesses one “swop” at a time.

“I see it as the must-have app,” said Josh Jamias, a BYU senior interning at Swop. “Just as important as having a smartphone, people are going to need Swop.”

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