Q. When and how did your journey begin? What is your story so far?

A. While my co-founder and I were at university together, there were so many times we wanted to play a game of basketball but our friends weren’t free or did not play the sport. This problem occurred in other situations ranging from cooking to forming study groups. We wondered why there was no platform that connected students across campus where you could post weekly plans and find people to join you. Further, we did research which showed that 56% college students feel lonely when they are at university and 40% of foreign students have no close friends on campus. People who had many friends also said they found it was difficult to find people to share specific activities with.


 

 

We thought creating an app that matched students for activities would be a solution to all of these problems. Making a millennial - friendly app, we further received market validation with students who used the app across universities in the US. After working closely with our team of 70 campus ambassadors we realized that students need a solution like this after they graduate too and thus opened the app to include young professionals and people who move to new cities, allowing the user to segment profiles based on location, age and activity.

Q. What are some of the hurdles the company faced and overcame to reach where it stands right now ?

A. Initially, our app was supposed to be called Buddy. We got the domain name, designed the logo and our initial user experience and interface with this name. We were then going to file for the registration of copyright and trademark (you can only do that with the logo) shortly after. A week after we registered, a national bank came up with a mobile wallet called ‘Buddy’, we immediately had to change our name, logo and branding. We came up with ‘DownToDash’ and this eventually turned out to be beneficial to us because it better suited our mission, was more unique, and enabled more marketing themes to be built around it.

 

We traveled from India to New York to launch DownToDash because we had planned a launch event with a college fraternity. We landed in New York; the land of opportunity, the city of dreams… Here we are, by ourselves, full of determination and passion that lights the flames of our goal to be women entrepreneurs and just a few hundred dollars. We were really excited for this big event and immediately contacted the head of the fraternity. He did not reply. We tried again. No reply. We tried to call, still nothing. He literally ghosted us. 

 

Similarly, we have had so many challenges, people have put us down, disrespected us, and completely dismissed our ideas. But we didn’t give up. We kept hustling, kept believing in ourselves, kept pushing forward by convincing ourselves that our dreams are worth fighting for. And now we know that it is those hard times that enabled us to discover better strategies, growth hacks and pivots that have been vital to our company.

 

Facing challenges and hurdles are all part of the startup process, which we now have learned to take in our stride. We believe being flexible to change and quickly learning to adapt our strategy and execution is a constant necessity.

 

Q. What are your company’s core values? What drives you to do what you do?

A. Our core values are open-mindedness, flexibility, integrity, optimism and passion.

 

We are driven by the sheer belief in our product; an easy platform to meet new people to do more of what you love. We aim to be a ‘cool’ solution to loneliness which is a problem many people face either in spurts or at length. It is rarely ever spoken about and can also be solved through friendships but unfortunately, for other apps, it is often immediately linked to companionship, dating and a life partner.

 

Q. Are you currently hiring? If so, what positions? What’s your company culture? What do you look for in new hires?

A. We are currently looking for a CTO. We are looking for someone who is qualified, passionate, hardworking, honest and believes in our product.

 

We are also looking for part-time marketing and social media interns to join our team of college interns (Our Part-time Marketing Internship program was voted to be in the Top 100 Internships programs in the US in 2017 by WayUp and CNBC Make It).

 

Q. What is your long- term vision of the company? Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? 10 years?

A. We envision DownToDash as a tool that never lets anyone feel lonely, bored, lazy or alone again. Whenever anyone needs an activity buddy, sports partner, someone to go to an event with, they immediately log onto DTD and their problems are solved. We visualize that no one feels lost when they move to a new city because they can easily meet new people and make plans that interest them. Also, when someone is traveling they can spontaneously meet locals and other travelers, have a shared experience and learn from him or her.

 

In 5 years, we see ourselves building and expanding this start-up to a company that has over a million users, strong partnerships and making useful connections between users with closed and open networks. We see DownToDash being used frequently in at least 10 countries around the world helping students, young professionals and people who move to new cities have better experiences and make countless friendships via shared interests and hobbies. 

 

In 10 years, we hope to exponentially grow in line with our 5-year goals. We also hope that with everything being technology enabled, we will be a highly modern, advanced product, enabling the charm of real human connections. We hope that everyone will not be glued to a screen all day and will take some time out to actually meet and spend time with people while developing their passions, hobbies and interests.

 

Sama Jashnani

Founder - Down To Dash

DOWN TO DASH 

Combatting Big-City Loneliness

DOWN TO DASH

Combatting Big-City Loneliness

Today in America, more than 40% of adults suffer from loneliness, and research suggests the actual figure could be much higher. In addition, the number of people reporting to have a close confidant in life has been declining steadily over the past twenty years, and according to Harvard’s CEO Snapshot Survey, over half of CEOs report feeling lonely, with 61% believing that it hinders their performance at work.

 

All this suggests that the so-called “loneliness epidemic” is indeed a reality in modern city life. While the British government appoints a “Loneliness Minister” to combat the problem in England, New Yorkers also aren’t safe from the stark lack of intimacy that loneliness represents, and which could well be a broader symptom of a cultural emphasis on shallow materialism and consumerism.  Down to Dash Founder, Sama Jashnani, saw these ails of city life even before graduating University and set out on a mission to provide New Yorkers a sense of connection and belonging with the aid of technology. She developed a mobile app designed to connect individuals with similar interests and activities to facilitate meaningfull interaction and community in a city that desperately needs both.

 

We sat down with Sama Jashnani to talk about how modern tech could offer ways to solve the problems of metropolitan isolation and disconnection rather than exacerbate them.

Q. How would you define DOWN TO DASH as a company in one phrase or a sentence?

A. Down To Dash is an app to meet people in your location to do an activity together.

"We aim to be a 'cool' solution to loneliness."

For an increasingly mobile generation, the most daunting aspect of moving to a new city often isn’t finding a job or even housing, but meeting people. Your friend group is an essential part of life, but relying on an office to provide that support network isn’t really compatible with modern business.

 

In fact, 88% of people who move to a new city fall into the kind of metropolitan isolation that Down To Dash is aiming to alleviate. Time to tell whether it, and similar apps, will have the ability to dig ourselves out of the hole of loneliness that other technologies like Tinder and Bumble have arguably helped create. One thing that's certain is that Founder Sama Jashnani is steadfast in her mission to accomplish just that. To follow her journey, visit downtodash.com

Today in America, more than 40% of adults report feeling lonely, and research suggests the actual figure could be much higher. In addition, the number of people reporting to have a close confidant in life has been declining steadily over the past twenty years, and according to Harvard’s CEO Snapshot Survey, half of CEOs report feeling lonely, with 61% believing that it hinders their performance at work.

 

All this suggests that the so-called “loneliness epidemic” is indeed a reality in modern city life. While the British government appoints a “Loneliness Minister” to combat the problem in England, New Yorkers also aren’t safe from the stark lack of intimacy that loneliness represents, and which could well be a broader symptom of a cultural emphasis on shallow materialism and consumerism.  Down to Dash founder Sama Jashnani saw these ails of city life even before graduating University and set out on a mission to provide New Yorkers a sense of connection and belonging with the aid of technology. She developed a mobile app designed to connect individuals with similar interests and activities to facilitate interaction and community in a city that desperately needs both.

 

We sat down with Sama Jashnani to talk about how modern tech could offer ways to solve the problems of metropolitan isolation and disconnection rather than exacerbate them.

Cryzen: Algorithmic Trading Gets Democratized

Managing cryptocurrency market trades doesn’t have to be cryptic - or time consuming. The team at Cryzen is on the fast track to integrating machine learning and custom algorithms to investors of the cryptocurrency market, all while hosting a XEN token bounty program that supports learning coding.

4 AI Solutions for Fast-Growing Startups

Artificial intelligence has been progressing rapidly since the coining of the term in 1956. Less than a century later, it is not uncommon to find AI systems, such as the Google Home, in the workplace, and similar AI have been present on phones in the forms of Siri and Google Assistant.



Implementing AI into the workplace can be costly if the AI is built from scratch, and Daniel Faggella of Techemergence notes that the use of AI is not conducive to all business practices and should therefore be thoroughly considered before moving ahead and paying for experts in AI, such as data scientists who could cost over $100k in certain cities.

New Software Aims to Revolutionize Scheduling

Communication between employees and employers can cause conflicts in scheduling and inevitably a loss of money as a result of over- or under-staffing shifts. This is common in retail and food service, but one app called ShedWool eliminates these problems through their modern and affordable scheduling system.

Startups Turn to Micro-Influencers to Maximize Marketing ROI

The use of traditional influencer campaigns on Instagram, Twitter and Youtube are an effective means to capture a target audience. Accounts with followers of 500,000+, like Instagrammer @kimberelymargarita_, make an estimated average of $2,000 per sponsored post, and some influencers with followers in the millions could make $25,000 per sponsored post.

Secretive A.R. Startup Magic Leap Unveils Its First Product

After almost four years of developing their mixed reality tech in secret, or as they called it, ‘stealth mode,’ and raising a total of $2.3 billion dollars in investment, Magic Leap has finally released its first product.

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MOAD COMPUTER 

Artificial Intelligence -- Intelligently Designed

Widespread concern over our eventual AI overlords begs the question: what kinds of minds will engineer these complex, intelligent systems? The likes of Rahul Remanan seem up to the challenge. After graduating from India’s most prestigious medical University, receiving a Doctorate in Neurology from Cornell, founding Nanoveda, a company developing ground-breaking cancer therapies, and Ekaveda, a tech-based think tank, Remanan is turning his attention to AI. Founding Moad Computers, he builds the hardware that runs sophisticated neural nets for American enterprises.

 

We sat down to talk to Remanan about how his AI company is selling businesses what is perhaps the most valuable commodity: intelligence.