The App Students in Taiwan Can't Live Without

The App Students in Taiwan Can't Live Without
飽受高考制度煎熬的學生步出考場,如釋重擔,喜出望外。Photo Credit: Reuters / 達志影像

What you need to know

Ten questions with a co-founder of a Taiwan startup tapping into the nation's university market.

Colorgy co-founder Manta Wu (吳順涵) talks about the sacrifices made in creating a mobile app already used by one in every ten students in Taiwan, including getting kicked out of school.

The News Lens International (TNLI): What is the origin of Colorgy and when did you come up with the idea for the business?

Manta Wu: Back in summer two years ago, we were a bunch of restless college students trying to make a difference. We started out with a platform that sold textbooks, then moved on to a carpool service for college students, then a manpower dispatch service, and eventually the Colorgy calendar app. Since we started with the textbook service, we had a lot of curriculum data on our hands, and that’s how we naturally decided to develop the class schedule calendar app.

TNLI: Can you briefly describe what Colorgy does?

Wu: It’s a class schedule calendar app combined with recommended events for college students. When students are using the app, they not only see their class schedule but also see what interesting events are going on this week.

TNLI : What is the current company status, including the scale, employees, user numbers and their nationalities?

Wu: Currently we have 10 full-time employees and three interns, 150,000 users and all of them are Taiwanese.

TNLI: Who is the target audience in terms of nationality, gender and age? Are there any reasons for the choice?

Wu: Our targeted audience are university students from all over Taiwan. We didn’t particularly choose to aim at this audience, it was a natural decision considering we were all university students when we founded this company.

TNLI: What makes Colorgy different from other online calendar application providers?

Wu: We have a huge database that has the curriculum information of 171 university departments in Taiwan. When students download the app they will find it very easy to use and incorporate into their daily campus routines.

TNLI: What do you consider to be your most successful accomplishment so far and how did the team achieve it?

Wu: I would say our most successful accomplishment is that right now, one in every 10 university students in Taiwan uses our app. We really put a lot of effort and time into developing this app; one of us even got kicked out of school. There was a period of time when we were basically living together because there were just so many things to discuss. Another feature of our team is that we are all extremely motivated and we are not scared of taking risks. If we felt that something was plausible, we would go ahead and try it even if it might not work out in the end. Eventually, I think that’s why we can make it where we are today, because in the process of trying different things we accumulated a huge amount of experience.

TNLI: What have been the biggest challenges for Colorgy so far and how did the company fight against them?

Wu: The biggest challenge is realizing the things are not as easy as we imagined and we just have to deal with it, because this is the real world and we are not in school clubs anymore. Consequently, we all had to absorb and learn a lot of things in a very short amount of time, and communication within the team became more important.

TNLI: Is there any field that Colorgy is focusing in in the future?

Wu: Right now we are working hard on machine learning and recommender systems. We really want to find out what kind of events university students really like and we want to be able to recommend these events to them during their free periods or free time so that they can make the best use of their time.

TNLI: What does Colorgy hope to achieve in the long-term?

Wu: To become the app that university students in Taiwan cannot live without. And we also want to take the event recommender system one step further; we hope to appeal to not only students but also to the people who have already started working full-time. We really want to help everyone organize their time to the fullest.

TNLI: What may be Colorgy’s most exciting upcoming apps/plans?

Wu: We have just launched our event wall, on which you can see all kinds of events either generated by us or by students themselves. One of our more important upcoming plans is to wire Google's calendar into our app, so that our app can really make its way to anyone who has the habit of using mobile calendar apps.

Editor: Edward White