As a resident of Roble her freshman year, Sumi Mudgil ’21 and her friends felt isolated from the social life of East Campus freshman dorms.
“The biggest thing I’d hear on Friday and Saturday nights was, ‘what’s going on?’” Mudgil recalled. “You eventually find out what’s going on but you have to ask like 10 different people.”
Frustrated by this information disconnect, she created FullSend.App, an event advertising platform that she and her team hope will change how information about campus events is disseminated to college students across the country.
“Our goal is to fill that niche marketplace,” said FullSend.App developer Garand Tyson ’22. “We want to integrate more of that social media and event planning aspects into a better system than Facebook event planning or creating a massive group text or putting some flyers on a wall.”
Filling the Void
Unlike Yik Yak, an anonymous app allowing users to post messages and events, the structure of FullSend.App revolves around user profiles.
“On FullSend, the goal is that you create a real profile, not an anonymous [one],” Mudgil said. Users can then build a network of friends, similar to a Facebook friend group.
To find events, users can scroll through the “Trending Events” tab, which is split into two categories dubbed “Work Hard” and “Play Harder.” The former is a list of scholastic events such as career fairs and talks by speakers, while the latter is reserved for social events like parties. Information regarding the location and time of the event are included in the event description.
Adding an event to one’s schedule, which users can view under the “My Events” tab, is a matter of pressing a button. Users are notified of events they plan to attend an hour before the event is set to happen. They can also keep track of events they have previously attended or were interested in attending using the “Archive” feature.
When posting an event, users can include information such as links, event details and event rules, in addition to basic facts such as time, date and location. Mudgil considers FullSend.App’s flexibility and adaptability to be defining characteristics of the platform.
“You can curate who you want to see is coming to your event and whether you want [it] to be public or not,” Mudgil said.
After completing CS 107 last spring, Mudgil felt “empowered” to abandon an internship in Philadelphia in favor of undertaking her own project: solving the problems she had identified with the way campus events are marketed and advertised.
She described the process as “all-consuming” and worked on developing the app even as she road-tripped to Tennessee and Ohio.
“It was just actually exciting when you have an idea and trying to bring it to fruition,” Mudgil said.
This year, she made the decision to quit Stanford’s varsity squash team to devote more time to FullSend.App. Two weeks into fall quarter, she finally launched FullSend.App on Stanford’s campus. Now, about six months later, Mudgil estimates that almost 600 Stanford students are using the app.
Janine Fleming ’22 often used FullSend.App on weekends during fall quarter to help her navigate the event scene at Stanford.
“I think it is an easier way to get to know some of the stuff happening on campus,” Fleming said. “If you aren’t on the right mailing list you aren’t going to find out about these things.”
As a freshman who was unfamiliar with the campus in the fall, Fleming appreciated that those who posted events could provide links with the event location.
Mudgil and her team have expanded operations to other campuses where she has close connections, including Boston University and the University of Miami, where roughly 150 students are on the app. Mudgil is also in the process of introducing FullSend.App to Yale.
“I just want to put it under the responsibility of people that I trust,” Mudgil said.
Business model and team
Although Mudgil began her journey with FullSend.App alone, her team now includes a close network of friends. However, given that FullSend is still in its early stages, Mudgil has not formalized official roles and responsibilities for her teammates.
“When this goes somewhere, my team will officially [be given] roles,” Mudgil said. “I guess our business model is not quite there; it’s more just try to spread as much awareness about [the FullSend.App] as possible.”
At the beginning of the 2018-19 year, Tyson joined the FullSend.App team as an Android developer. A flyer for the app initially caught Tyson’s attention, though he found himself unable to download the app on his Android phone. When he saw Mudgil and her team handing out flyers for FullSend.App at the Lagunita Dining Hall, Tyson offered his service as an Android developer.
“I felt like these guys had a pretty good idea set up, and they had a pretty solid infrastructure,” Tyson said. “So it was established but it still needed a lot of work so there was a lot of opportunity to pick it up and do it.”
Tyson is focused on taking the existing platform and converting it so that it is compatible with Android phones. He also works with Mudgil to restructure the FullSend.App’s back end — the code and processes that make the app functional — to accommodate more users.
As of now, Mudgil has no plans to monetize or obtain funding for FullSend.App, though others have encouraged her to do so.
“I don’t see any part of it that really needs funding,” Mudgil said. “Making an app on the App Store costs a $100 developer fee per year; my parents foot that bill … and I don’t really need to hire many people.”
Ultimately, Mudgil does not view competition as a significant obstacle for FullSend.App, which she views as “tailored” to monitoring “the pulse of the campus.” FullSend.App’s focus on campus events provides a more streamlined information source for students, setting it apart from competitors such as Facebook.
“Facebook wasn’t made to be a mobile app,” Tyson said. “Facebook event planning also isn’t really great, and it really sucks on mobile.”
Mudgil is more concerned with increasing student engagement with the product.
“I don’t think my biggest issue is competition right now; it is just getting the word out there and getting people to use it and start posting,” Mudgil said.
To overcome this challenge, Mudgil has gone beyond posting flyers around campus and created an Instagram account and ambassador program for the app. Ambassadors promote the app by wearing FullSend.App merchandise such as jackets and stickers.
As Mudgil and her team look to “go full throttle with FullSend.App,” they hope to draw on their engagement with users to inform new partnerships with other applications and campus stakeholders.
The team plans on integrating other applications such as Google Calendar, Google Maps, and Facebook to improve the user experience.
“Instead of designing a whole new friend network, if we could integrate platforms that are already established and link your accounts, I think it would just be easier to viralize it,” Mudgil said.
“Pulling in Google Hangouts and some of the old Google+ ideas with the different friend circles would be a cool way of moving forward,” Tyson added.
Mudgil is also attempting to collaborate with frats to increase their presence on FullSend.App.
“If [the event] is public, I will post it or my friends will post it or someone who knows about it will post it on the app,” Mudgil said. “If I could get them to put it in themselves that would be huge.”
Fleming hopes to see the app better capture information about all the events occurring on campus.
“There were a couple times where there were parties and other events happening that I found through email or Facebook or people telling me that wasn’t reflected in the app,” Fleming said.
For Mudgil, FullSend.App has also been a testament to the power of hard work and the quality of Stanford’s computer science department.
“I came into Stanford having no CS experience at all,” Mudgil said. “Now I can teach myself a whole language and undertake such a huge project … I don’t know what other school could empower you like that.”
Contact Serena Debesai at sdebesai ‘at’ stanford.edu.