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Tuesday, September 11,2012

OU students, alums market flashcard App

By Daniella Limoli

Studying for exams may never be the same once six Ohio University students and alumni release a new Apple iPhone application this week.

The fledgling company calls itself FlashCrop, and co-founder Richard Rodman explained that the app is designed to make digital flashcards by taking a photo of a student's notes, glossaries or study guides and turning the images into notecards.

Rodman, an OU senior, explained that once a student takes a photo of the text, he or she can then easily crop around it to make a front or back of a notecard, or both simultaneously. The app also keeps track of how many right and wrong answer the student gets, allowing him or her to only study the failed responses. Students can name multiple decks, see statistics and even share notes.

"It's all trying to make time more efficient for students," Rodman said.

FlashCrop also plans to produce an in-app marketplace shortly after the initially release. Rodman said that in this way, students can buy and sell flashcards and notes and search for them by university, class and even chapter.

Within six months, the company hopes to establish a strictly online marketplace that does everything the application does, so even those without a smartphone can buy and sell notes if they miss class or just want to make a little extra cash.

"You have all these notecards just sitting there, and you can list them online and still make some money off of it," he said.

The coming launch isn't just taking place at OU but also at three other schools in Illinois, Louisiana and Missouri. By the end of its first year, the company hopes to have a presence at 42 schools.

At the individual schools, campus CEOs will bring on a team of marketing interns, who in turn will receive commission from each app that is downloaded in that geographic area. The CEOs can then proceed to recruit new CEOs at other universities across the country.

The group formed in April when its three original members, Rodman, Supradeep Kumar and Chad Stroud, placed first during Athens Startup Weekend and won a $2,500 prize. Armed with their winning concept, they went on to win the Center for Entrepreneurship's Pitch Us Your Plan competition and then were selected for OU's Innovation Engine business-accelerator program in June.

The accelerator program chose five digital media startup companies from across the state to receive up to $20,000 each to take part in its 10-week "boot camp," a past Athens NEWS reported.

By the end of the program, Rodman said that its members - which by then included two developers and a designer - had legally formed a company and created a nearly completed product.

When the app launches this week pending Apple's turnaround time for approval, it will offer both a free version and a 99-cent ad-free version.

Noting that many students don't study with notecards because they're too time-consuming to make, Rodman said, "The overwhelming response is that nobody knows they have this problem until they hear about FlashCrop."


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