Pushing Boundaries: Student app gives introverts a voice in class—and more

Published: April 13, 2017 By

David Meyer holds his phone to display the Flatiron Chat app on screenDavid Meyer wants to change the way people communicate. To bring back the lost art of sharing stories with people we meet, he developed a mobile application that makes it easy to initiate a conversation.

Meyer, a sophomore majoring in computer science, created Flatiron Chat, an app that uses peer-to-peer technology for seamless communication across WiFi and Bluetooth wireless platforms, and gives users the freedom to communicate without using a server or mobile data. 

The location-based messaging platform allows users to anonymously chat with people around them. Users can share ideas, keep up with local events, alert others to potential threats and read about what’s happening in their location. 

“I see Flatiron Chat being mass-adopted across the country as a fun, new way to communicate,” he said. “However, Flatiron will do more than help connect people in the same location, by helping local businesses learn and grow from feedback generated by the community. Businesses will also have the opportunity to create their own location-based messaging rooms that encompass their property.”

Anonymity can be helpful for students who are too shy or scared to ask questions in class. They can pose questions on Flatiron Chat anonymously, and other users in the classroom could answer.

“Facilitating a platform for introverted people to communicate anonymously would make them more likely to interact with people around them in the classroom,” he said. “Professors could easily make their courses more engaging by answering anonymous questions.”

Flatiron Chat started as a project for the Software Development Methods and Tools course in the Computer Science Department. The goal of the project is to connect users with shared experiences based on location, whether they’re sitting in a lecture course, riding the bus, walking to class or at a CU football game.

The app is available for download on the App Store or through Flatiron Chat’s website and Meyer is working to make it available on Android devices.

Meyer grew up in Silicon Valley surrounded by the tech industry, and his dad runs his own software engineering company.  

He has applied to Catalyze CU, an eight-week, summer startup accelerator that offers mentorship and equity-free grants. He has also taken steps to launch Flatiron Chat as a start-up and has registered as a Colorado corporation named Flatiron, Inc.

“I once heard Boulder described as the Silicon Flatirons,” Meyer said. “This is one of the primary reasons I have chosen to register as a Colorado corporation. I believe Boulder is one of the best places in the United states for Entrepreneurs and innovators to gather.”

Meyer has ambitious plans for where he wants Flatiron Chat to be in the next couple of years. Due to its flexibility, Flatiron Chat has the ability to expand beyond messaging into other location-based applications, such as rating businesses, controlling IoT (Internet of Things) devices, augmented-reality games and possibly integrating with services such as Uber. 

“I’ve always wanted to do a start-up,” he said. “I hope that Flatiron will help connect people with shared experiences. Imagine the possibilities if you could reach back to any moment in time and start a conversation with the individuals who were in the same location as you at that moment in time. This is what I see Flatiron being used for in the future—a gateway to connect you with your shared experience community.”