By Raneem Al-Ozzi
Cina Mehrvar and Stephen Hewitt met through a mutual friend during their first year at Ryerson University. Four years later they want to connect people with Atlas Social, an app designed to help people near and far meet.
The idea was born out of an app they developed previously called Dormroom, which focused on connecting people on campus.
“Dormroom was a learning process for us, and now we wanted to come up with something much more sophisticated and thought through,” said Mehrvar, the developer of the app and a fourth-year biomedical engineering student.
Atlas Social, which is available on iOS and will soon be released on Android, lets users find people throughout the world, connect with them, share media and mingle.
The main difference between their platform and other social media platforms is that it allows users to filter content by city and see what people around the world have to share, said Hewitt, the designer of the app and a fourth-year architectural science student.
Mehrvar, who took a year off school to work on the app, said him and Hewitt tried to mesh together social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Bumble, and put them into one “unifying” app.
Since its release, Atlas Social has had users share pictures and connect with each other from America, Italy, England, Bangladesh and even Saudi Arabia.
“There’s a lot of apps the connect you to people nearby, but we thought that there could be a niche in connecting people worldwide,” said Hewitt
Ryerson flaunts a culturally diverse student population from 146 countries, so people can use the app to discover places their friends are from or places they’ve been to, he said.
Mehrvar thinks that being able to find people near you is the app’s best feature, “If everyone at Ryerson joined in, you’d be able to see people in your program, your classes, everyone.”
Mehrvar and Hewitt said they enjoyed the process of making Atlas most of all, and are happy with what they have accomplished regardless of the outcome.
They said they did not receive any help or support from Ryerson affiliated business incubators.
“When you want to build a startup, you have to be really focused on how to build it. Ideas are great, talk is great. But talk is cheap,” said Mehrvar.
If you have a certain interest for something or an idea, just go for it. Don’t get stuck on the idea that you need to have a company or someone to back you up, he said.
Both of them will be graduating in the spring, hope to make a lasting impact on the Ryerson community and expand their app even more.