Between navigating new buildings, keeping on top of jam-packed schedules, and forging friendships – starting college can be daunting.
Nova Southeastern University student and Plantation native Jeremy Lapayowker faced these issues firsthand. Ever since he was a kid, he has struggled with executive function issues such as organizing his schedule and getting to class on time.
So, naturally, when Lapayowker first started college, he did what any enterprising Gen Z’er would do: he made an app for that.
The tool he originally developed to help keep himself on track would eventually blossom into UMaps. The app’s core function is to ensure that students arrive at class or extracurricular commitments on time. UMaps cross references a college’s campus map with a user’s schedule, and reminds students when they need to leave for class.
“This app really helped me with my executive function issues, so I thought it would help other kids with disabilities and learning obstacles like I have,” Lapayowker said.
While the app has been in development since 2018, with an early version having been released in November 2020, Lapayowker told Refresh Miami that UMaps was launched in its current state in February 2021.
According to Lapayowker, UMaps has been downloaded by over 50,000 students at more than 400 colleges around the US. This success comes after just over four months of marketing the startup.
Lapayowker, who is majoring in entrepreneurship at NSU, has leveraged TikTok to spread the word about UMaps. He claims that five or six of his videos have been viewed by more than 100,000 people. Students from schools including Harvard, Brown, and Duke are all singing UMaps’ praises by making their own TikTok videos.
“With TikTok, if you find the right people and post the correct type of videos, people will engage with them and people will like them,” said Lapayowker. However, he explained that having a solid product is key. “You can’t post a product that people don’t like and have it go viral.”
Next for UMaps is developing relationships with universities to create whitelabeled apps for their students. Lapayowker said that early discussions with college administrators have been positive: “They see how the app can help make students less stressed, and avoid new students being bombarded with everything when they get on campus for the first time.”
Lapayowker and team are also working on new updates. While these developments are still top secret, Lapayowker hinted that future features would make the platform more interactive. “I can’t really talk about too much right now, but we do have some very cool updates coming,” he said.
Readers can download UMaps for free from your phone’s app store, or learn more by visiting UMapsApp.com.
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