Article by Emma Grosskopf
Kyle and Edwin Foster seem like your typical college grads, out in the real world, trying to make it on their own. And, boy, are they making it.
The Foster brothers co-founded the app COVEY, which is being introduced to the RC student body this semester. COVEY is a mobile communication app that is based on location and Wi-Fi. The Foster brothers created a sort of “geo-fence” around Roanoke College, and anyone that is within the geo-fence and connected to the Wi-Fi can “check-in”. This app allows students to create a profile, check into locations, and chat with people around them without the added pressure of exchanging phone numbers or becoming “friends” on a social media platform. “
The long-term vision is that people will walk across campus, and, instead of walking with their heads down, they can get to know each other because of the app,” Edwin said.
Kyle adds, “It’s essentially having the whole campus at your fingertips, connecting with the friendly faces in the crowd.” Here at Roanoke, the Foster brothers are focused on a soft launch for COVEY. “Going viral can actually be detrimental in some cases. Some social media companies get a lot of user growth but get shut down because of cyberbullying…so we want to make sure that we’re working with Roanoke to be as safe as possible and try to create the best possible product before we go nationwide,” Edwin said.
Any students that are interested in getting involved with the COVEY app should start by checking into the Roanoke Students pin, a private forum created for RC students only. COVEY has more draw than a social media outlet such as Facebook or Instagram because all posts disappear after 24 hours, a feature that allows students to express themselves without worrying about their posts coming back to haunt them.
“We want to make sure that no one gets in trouble for voicing their opinion. People are so easily offended nowadays, and we want to make sure that no one gets hurt,” Edwin said.
As a more student-based app, COVEY is a tool to help students connect with new people who might share their interests, as opposed to a social media outlet such as Facebook, which relies on adding “friends” and allowing the same people to view your profile all the time.
“Facebook is a wonderful platform, but it was founded in 2004, and technology has outgrown it. So we tried to create a social platform from the ground up that really captures the power of the mobile phone,” Edwin said.
While COVEY is an app to facilitate student interaction, the Fosters are adamant that it is not a hookup app, though they acknowledge that it might be an inevitable by-product. “It’s not what we’re about. Our brand is bigger than that: temporary communication over a location,” Kyle said.
“We’ve bent over backwards not to be a hookup app.” Due to the soft launch of COVEY, not many students on campus are aware of the app or what it does, but the Foster brothers are excited to see how RC students respond to it.
“We plan on creating a sustainable community at Roanoke this semester. We are really going to focus on trying to make this work here. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity, and everyone here is really nice, and they’re accepting our idea, which is really cool,” Edwin said.