The social match-making application Hapier will be released this month and intends to shake up social dynamics on campus through conversation.
Hapier is an in-development application promoting face-to-face interaction by matching students who share similar interests and hobbies within a 50-meter radius of one another. The app focuses on combating the social anxiety and loneliness prevalent in the college student demographic, co-founder Adam Valenta said.
The app will be made available to Texas A&M students within the coming weeks, Valenta said. He and Derek Burgman, programmer and co-founding Aggie, will expand to other college campuses if Hapier does well at A&M. Valenta said the next step would target older demographics and metropolitan areas that are socially empowered and open-minded, such as Austin and Dallas.
Valenta said it’s because of Burgman’s work that his idea became tangible. The idea for his application came to him when he noticed the lack of conversation and interaction among the students in Sweet Eugene’s, a College Station cafe. Valenta said he challenged himself to talk to seven strangers within a week, followed by a self-assessment afterwards.
“I noticed that I was more selfless and I was more grateful for moments in the day and before that I wasn't,” Valenta said. “I was so hooked on being on Instagram and being on social media, keeping up with my Snapchat streaks and all of those things. But just taking a few moments out of the day, after a period of time you can really start to see a difference in the way you live your own life based on that.”
The team plans to use personality assessments, such as the Enneagram, to match users in the future. Valenta said his goal is to make an impact by helping others create meaningful relationships, be it in a romantic, platonic or business sense.
“Hapier is about authenticity, encouragement, empowerment and no expectations,” Valenta said. “Just start the conversation, that’s all you need to do. Then just let yourself, let life predict what’s gonna happen, don’t silo it into what it’s supposed to be.”
Bradley Wesner is an assistant clinical professor in Mays Business School, and has been a mentor and advisor to Valenta. The app has the potential for student networking, expand students’ knowledge base and spark conversation, Wesner said.
“I think it would be a good way of fostering something that we’ve lost on campus, which is conversation,” Wesner said. “It would force people out of their shell a little bit particularly if they want to be less introverted and more socially engaged.”
Wesner said he’s helped students with their ideas and business plans in the past, but this has been his first time dealing with social media. Wesner said he’s proud to be a part of the process of creating Hapier and has enjoyed working with Valenta.
“It’s exciting to get to deal with this kinda stuff,” Wesner said. “I mean I love it, you know, particularly teaching in the business school. Everything I teach is designed to make my students successful.”