Popular Facebook page to be phased out in near future
THE SANTA CLARA
April 21, 2016
For the last year, students have used the beloved “Runner: Tasks on Campus” Facebook page to request food deliveries, phones, furniture, concert tickets and transportation. Now, with a recently developed app, Broncos will able to request these goods from the convenience of their mobile phones.
Most posts on the Runner page are relatively mundane. Typical requests include home-delivered Cramer’s bagels, rides to the Mineta San José International Airport and music festival tickets.
However, amidst the usual requests for food and transportation, more exciting ones are sprinkled throughout. In the last month, students have requested “50 water balloons to Kenna,” a “Batman suit,” “$5 to rent a bald cap” and “a megaphone.”
Students occasionally also use Runner as a type of lost-and-found platform. Often posts will feature photos of lost access cards or keys.
“Did anyone lose a pregnant dog? She looks like a dachshund mix,” a Runner user posted in February.
Senior Michael Roletti came up with the original idea for Runner over two years ago. He handles marketing, overall design and new features of the app while also recruiting and managing brand ambassadors at other college campuses.
“We knew we wanted Runner as an app because every student has a smartphone that they use all the time and every college student is either looking to make money or have services done for them,” Roletti said.
Roletti conceived the idea of Runner in February of 2014. The next month, he and his team started collecting funds to begin the development stage, which began in May of 2015. Later, they found a coder from Germany who helped further develop the app over the summer.
In fall 2015, the team was still not satisfied with the app, but acquired their first round of funding in November from a private investor, which allowed them to use Topal, a software development agency that linked them to a coder in Brazil.
The entire development of the app came to fruition from December 2015 to April 2016. The app was finally completed and launched on April 12.
Roletti said that it was always their intention to create Runner as an app, not merely as a Facebook page.
“We created the Facebook page as a part of our alpha-marketing to get our name out there and see if and how students used our service,” he said. “It took a couple of weeks, but eventually people started using it and it blew up.”
His team is trying to boost the number of downloads of the app. They will be deleting the Facebook page soon, but do not want to risk deleting it too early and losing the connection with approximately 2,000 students who “like” the page.
Roletti acknowledges that it will take a good amount of time to transition students from using the Facebook page to using the app. However, students seem receptive to the idea
“I use Runner to make money on the side, and my tasks usually involve bringing food or supplies to people,” said sophomore Pierce McInturff. “If the app is like the Facebook page, then I will definitely use the app in the coming months.”
The application has many more features and capabilities than the Facebook page does, including user profiles, private messaging and the ability to manage your tasks.
It uses Stripe for its payment system, which is a highly secure and certified payment system used by other popular apps like Postmates and Lyft.
“There is no other app like ours out right now and we are also the first university ‘lost and found’ which has proven to be a popular part of Runner,” Roletti said.
After launching at Santa Clara, the Runner team has big plans for the app. Runner is currently available at other colleges like St. Mary’s, Cal Poly, Chapman and LMU.
The team hopes to expand to smaller schools with the same environment as Santa Clara initially, then branch out to bigger schools across California and other states next year once the app has more features and a larger server.
In addition, they hope to build an Android version over the summer and make it available to students next fall.
“We hope to have Runner working and helping students and professors daily at every school across America, but that is years down the road,” Roletti said.
Roletti has two partners at Runner. Senior Sam Kujovich, the president and CEO, comes from an engineering and entrepreneurship background and handles all of the coding in Runner along with app design. Zach Lamb is in charge of raising money and handling finances and legal issues. In addition, Daniel Mottice was involved with the initial development of the idea, and is now on the board of advisors for Runner, Inc.
To download the app, search “Runner Inc” on the app store, or visit the team’s website at runnerinc.co.
Contact Krista Clawson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.