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Grouplet: Student Entrepreneurs Make Group Messaging More Useful

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Alex Fulton and Alec Siems are both seniors at SMU. They recently finished up the “Accelerate Your Startup” course with Trey Bowles this past semester, and are currently working at the Dallas Entrepreneurial Center (DEC) this summer.

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Alex Fulton and Alec Siems, at The Dallas Entrepreneur Center.

Both students found the class to be incredibly valuable and challenging. As a computer science major, Siems was able to use what he learned in several classes and apply that directly to building a messaging system. He and Fulton partnered up, and with Alex’s experience in business and entrepreneurship, they were able to move forward with a real plan, and from there they came up with Grouplet, LLC.

“We’re a text message service that allows for groups to more easily communicate with their members,” explains Fulton, co-founder and VP of operations.

“Grouplet provides any group with their own personal phone number. Using that phone number, group leaders can send a text to the number with a message that our system takes and then sends out from the group’s phone number. This allows for the message to be seen as a single text.”

Which may very well be the number one way to ensure that EVERYONE in your group sees your message — whether it’s a fraternity, meetup group, or everyone in your coworking office. Not everyone checks their Facebook updates, and the likelihood of everyone reading your weekly newsletter is also small.

But a text message is read, on average, within 5 seconds of receiving it. And regardless of how outdated your mobile device might be (I’m looking at you, Dad), it likely has SMS capabilities.

Says Fulton, “Our customer is any group that has an issue with getting information out to its members efficiently and effectively.”

Logo (1)Siems is a computer science major, and built the Grouplet platform. “Our idea has been compared to Group.me, but the benefit of Grouplet is that we’re focused on getting relevant information out to the group, not inundate users with constant messages from everyone.

A key part of the Grouplet service is keywords. “The keyword feature allows group members to set up a word such as ‘events’ in our system. When a member of their group sends the word ‘events’ to the phone number, it automatically responds with the group leader’s preset response, such as ‘Meeting on August 9th at 6:30pm.’”

They were able to test out Grouplet with their fraternity this past semester. “Now attendance at the fraternity’s events is up, and when our group leader reminds us that the dress is formal, no one shows up in shorts.”

photo (33)Currently Fulton and Siems are working at the DEC in the historic West End, where they’re able to access all of the resources, mentors, and community that the DEC offers. “Honestly, it’s the best resource any startup could have,” says Fulton.

Soft launch for Grouplet is on July 1. To learn more about Grouplet, you can contact Alex Fulton directly, at afulton@grouplet.net.

“We believe Grouplet is a solution that can make every person’s life easier, because every person in some way, shape, or form is involved with a group.”

 

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(Image credit: Header image from IM Creator.)

Rachel Gilliam

Rachel is the Marketing Director at LAUNCH DFW. She coworks at the Grove, tweets about startups, and appreciates a well-crafted hashtag.
  • JimH

    Not sure how this is different from Twitter’s txt function? E.g., Text “Follow ” to 404-04? You receive a text back from Twitter saying, “Welcome to Twitter! You’re now following @ and you’ll now receive their tweets on your phone.”

  • jon trollsen

    More like….pooplet

  • DeanO

    It appears to me that this is a more controlled and a closed group whereas anyone could receive the Twitter messages for that group. I would guess a frat would not want every event broadcast on Twitter but instead may only want their membership to be aware of certain events that are planned.

  • JMix

    This is a copycat of GroupMe app (which got acquired by Skype). I don’t see the disruptivness in it.

  • AndrewD

    In what sense could this be considered similar to group.me?

  • http://brevig.com richardbrevig

    https://groupme.com/sms Didn’t realize that functionality for group.me existed until this article. I remember being told about group.me when organizing a group about 6 months ago and I ignored it because I didn’t want to download an app (I was first frustrated that we weren’t able to group text, this was the first time I wasn’t able to as everyone else I had worked with previously had an iphone). But now that I see it works without need for an app, I’ll use it in the future. I agree, unfortunately though very creative, I don’t see anything unique about this app when compared to group.me What exactly do you see as the competitive advantage, AndrewD?