New app ‘WeConnectUp’ aims to unite students through fun events

David Fletcher, Staff Writer

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International student Dennis Eriksson created an app that he hopes will help him find new friends.

Eriksson developed the app WeConnectUp for students to connect with others.

After moving to Santa Barbara, he found that it was difficult to make new friends outside of his immediate group of peers.

Unlike apps such as Facebook and Snapchat that focus on enhancing connections with people you already know, WeConnectUp is engineered to assist in establishing relationships with people outside the user’s social bubble. 

Eriksson first came up with the idea while he was enrolled in the Enterprise Launch Program at City College, which serves to help young innovators realize their entrepreneurial potential while on campus. 

He grew up in Sweden and said there wasn’t a strong emphasis placed on bringing youth into the business industry. 

When he heard about City College, he took the opportunity and flew across the Atlantic to finish school and jump-start his career. 

“California is the best place to establish a startup,” Eriksson said. “It’s an entrepreneurial Mecca, and there’s no place I’d rather be.” 

The program requires participants to pitch different ideas for their business idea each week, giving students experience with the kind of real-world scenarios any young business owner might be expected to face. 

“While I was in the Enterprise Launch Program I received feedback from real investors, which is when I realized my idea was something to execute on,”  Eriksson said. 

Eriksson found collaborators and eventual cofounders of his venture, including Adam Verhasselt, the creative director of WeConnectUp, and Ian Knott, the programmer. 

Verhasselt was the first to join the team. 

He and Eriksson were both working on separate projects that had to do with bringing people together and decided to join forces. 

Eriksson worked on the logistics of running a business while Verhasselt wanted to spend his time being creative. 

“It’s my role in the company to make this app beautiful and easy to understand,” Verhasselt said. “It’s been really cool to work on something for the first time where I’m not in charge of everything, I’m just a teammate.” 

This idea of the app resonated with the team, especially Knott, who believes that his generation often uses technology to go inward, resulting in students spending more time alone and less time with others.

He hopes that the app will serve as a way to inspire people to get outside the house and make new friends. 

“I envision our app catering to a large community of people that want to be out in the world enjoying the company of others, as opposed to just being isolated and lonely,” said Knott. 

The app will be available in the app store soon.

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