BYU students from different backgrounds are aiming to lift and help others through start-up companies that have diverse solutions for distinct problems.
These startups include Tribe, an upcoming app designed to help those struggling with pornography; welift, an on-demand moving service; and Breath of Life, an upcoming anti-choking device.
Junior product management major Chandler Rogers is the founder of Tribe (renamed Relay), which will connect those struggling to overcome habituation and addiction to pornography.
Rogers said Tribe started with the realization of how many people grapple with pornography use and how difficult and expensive it may be to access professional help.
Struggling individuals often take scary but courageous leaps to even talk to those closest to them, he said. Tribe will take the initial awkward conversation out of getting help and support.
“A foundational principle of Tribe is that connection heals addiction. Regardless of the addiction, connection to others is a key piece of recovery,” Rogers said.
Once users open the app, they’ll be brought to the landing page and linked into a group, or “tribe,” where they can build relationships with members and professionals. Rogers said Tribe/Relay promotes and values having built-in accountability for those fighting against pornography.
Rogers said he has worked on the app with help from computer science students, professional therapists, business owners and his wife, a BYU entrepreneurship major. The team is working together in hopes of making sure Tribe users find support and encouragement.
Rogers hoped naming the app Tribe would encapsulate the idea of working together and not being alone. He said the word “tribe” connotates the fight and struggle people experience while resisting pornography.
For now, Relay’s primary focus is tackling pornography; however, Rogers said the long-term goal will be to help people break any addiction or bad habit and create healthy lifestyles.
“We’ve already had a few test users tell us Tribe is something they’ve wanted for a long time or that they’ve gotten close to slipping up but they remembered Tribe will be available soon,” he said. “There’s too much isolation in this world. What really matters is getting support and giving it to others.”
Giving support to customers was a key principle behind the creation of welift.
Construction and facilities management major Luke Nafrada created welift with his wife, Sydnee Nafrada, after realizing the possibilities an on-demand moving service could offer themselves and other BYU students.
Nafrada leads welift as a servicing company with a comparable concept to Uber and Doordash, and welift is a facilitating marketplace. He said customers from across the state can find welift’s social media platforms or the company’s website to request a welift moving team in their area.
“I love how easily welift helps college kids trying to make ends meet. These movers are sometimes in tight spots and paying their way through school, with all the expenses that come along with that,” Nafrada said. “It’s one of the greatest rewards from this whole experience.”
He said some may not realize how often a spur-of-the-moment moving need can pop up and hopes welift will be the best resource for those situations. Even before the creation of welift, he’s seen the difficulty of finding available or willing people to help others move.
The company began in January 2021 and has already seen a promising return on its investment. Nafrada said after doing market research and surveys, the company received very positive feedback on market need and desire for its services.
Nafrada said his wife, Sydnee, has overseen the booking and marketing side of the operation and was the driving force between welift’s partnership with the Penske truck leasing company.
“Not only does our company offer our employees a flexible work schedule, but we are truly growing so fast,” he said. “Our biggest priority is how we service our customers and treat our fellow student employees.”
Breath of Life
BYU entrepreneurship major Elizabeth Jeffrey’s business started from the desire to service caretakers more effectively.
Jeffrey is a busy, 44-year-old mom of six children. Although her family and class schedule keep her busy enough, she saw the need for the creation of a new choking remedy device.
“When we named the product ‘Breath of Life,’ we hoped the description will give people hope and peace of mind that this product can really save lives,” she said.
The product will be used with one hand so the user can phone for help and continue to try to help the victim, Jeffrey said. It will also be used in any position the person choking is in.
Breath of Life is intended to be extremely easy to use, portable and inexpensive. Jeffrey said the other anti-choking devices on the market have to be used with both hands and the person choking has to be lying on the ground. These stipulations are often too difficult to attain, she said.
Jeffrey understands that when a child starts to choke, it’s frightening and parents panic. If a person is not prepared to administer the Heimlich, they’ll often freeze from fear, she said.
“I have felt so passionate about this project since the beginning. As a mom, I think children choking is one of the biggest fears parents have,” Jeffrey said. “I also think it will bring peace of mind to caretakers of elderly or disabled people.”
Jeffrey and many fellow students and BYU professors have collaborated on Breath of Life since February 2019 and hope to have the final product by April 2021. A team will present the device to doctors to get its safety requirements approved. She hopes it will be ready for the market in May.
“I’ve worked so hard on this and I hope that it can be used in homes, classrooms, hospitals, ambulances and everywhere it could be needed. Breath of Life’s purpose is really to serve and reach as many people as possible,” Jeffrey said.