Michigan Dropout Creates Social Media App, Bans Ohio State Students

By DJ Byrnes on March 7, 2014 at 11:52a
65 Comments

Back during my freshman year in college, Facebook was like the wild wild west. Only college students were allowed, and it was awesome. As Facebook slowly expanded its membership to "everyone with an internet connection," it lost its exclusivity. I left Facebook the day my mom sent me a friend request, and young people are abandoning the site in droves

Enter "Blend," which just secured $2.7 million in seed funding, created by UM dropout Akash Nigam:

Blend, founded in 2013, is a social app available exclusively to college students. The model is “Share, Snap, Score” – students share photos based on the Blend theme of the day, earn Snaps or ‘likes’ on their photos from their peers, and use Snaps as “social currency” to score Blend Gifts, such as products and gift cards from popular brands. Blend is very selective and solely partners with trendy, college-relevant companies. Since October, Blend has partnered with over 200 brands. Some perennial favorites include Uber, Chegg, Rowdy Gentleman, Fraternity Collection, and Alex & Ani.

Granted, I'm a few years removed from college, but this app sounds hideous. Who the hell logs online to interact with "trendy, college-relevant" brands? This is all without tackling the suicide-inducing terms of "social currency" and "Blend Gifts." 

But here's the kicker (emphasis mine):

After launching its beta in late October at the University of Michigan, Blend has gained over 50,000 daily active users through word of mouth. Blend is available to all Universities within the United States, except for Ohio State.

Banning the largest university in the world from your college-only social app isn't a good business model, Akash.

Even worse for him, like all Michigan Men, his hubris will be broken. After all, he's indebted to investors who won't allow Akash's inferiority complex to stand in the way of making more money. (But hey, I guess he got some free words about his app, eh?) 

65 Comments

Comments

Stinson's picture

lol wut.

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." -Wayne Woodrow Hayes

MichiganBuckeye222's picture

I call BS.  That hot girl couldn't possibly go to TSUN

Representing the Buckeyes in the Mitten State since 1987.

www.septemberheisman.com

 

+5 HS
Buckeye in Illini country's picture

This is what happens when you mess with Ohio State. 

 

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

+9 HS
avail31678's picture

Not that I care at all, but isn't that discrimination excluding OSU students?  Obviously I'm not a lawyer, so I'm probably way off.

Either way...he's a UM DROP OUT. Deep down he probably left TSUN due to some subconscious, internal struggle over his burning love for Ohio State.

+2 HS
OSUStu's picture

You are entitled to discriminate against anyone you want as long as it is not a protected class under law.  Ohio State students do not, as a group, have that protection.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

+5 HS
BOJ's picture

Yes, it is discrimination, but its legal discrimination (OSU students are not a protected class; e.g., race, religion, etc.).

Doh, responded too late.

 

+2 HS
jvd253's picture

Right.  And it's by a private individual, not government (where the protected class analysis comes into play) or engaging in public commerce (tripping Civil Rights legislation).  I wish the KKK would all die in a fire, but there's the legal theory behind why they're allowed to hold marches through my hometown every few years.  

"A guy from Ohio can make it in life if he works hard enough." - Wayne Woodrow Hayes

+1 HS
Nick's picture

Wishing a whole group to die in a fire is worse than racism. 

+8 HS
jvd253's picture

Point taken.  Forgive my rhetorical embellishment.  

"A guy from Ohio can make it in life if he works hard enough." - Wayne Woodrow Hayes

+1 HS
DJ Byrnes's picture

Sorry, but a death wish on somebody like the KKK is not worse than racism.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

Patriot4098's picture

You'd rather have some one want you dead than discriminate against you?

"Evil shenanigans!"     - Mac

+3 HS
Poison nuts's picture

Dude? Ugh!!

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

Nick's picture

Idk, imo, the KKK is a group that probably (don't really know what they stand for nowadays) wants another group of people to die. So wanting them to die is stooping to their level? Anyways, I think if people just ignore them long enough they will eventually go away.

-1 HS
buckeyedude's picture

"Protected classes" have no business existing in a free society.

 

 

+1 HS
c92996p's picture

Or he took "Harvard of the West" a little too literally and thought he was the next Bill Gates or something

Unky Buck's picture

Harvard of the West

Isn't that Stansbury?

...

+3 HS
luckynutz's picture

North, south, east or west....there is only ONE Haaaaaaar-vard. +1 for the obscure SBTB reference good sir!

+1 HS
gm3jones's picture

Pretty clever. No wonder he dropped out of school.

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

Ericgobucks's picture

I live in Silcon Valley and many of the most successful business people here are drop-outs. That's not necessarily why he's a jackass. First of all what are those brands he partnered with? I haven't heard of one of them--fail. Secondly, could you imagine google or Facebook saying "we don't allow Ohio State fans or students?" Ridiculous. It's idiotic from a business perspective and shows that he's not thinking smartly. I seriously doubt this app has a snowball's chance in hell. 

+2 HS
rdubs's picture

Facebook started with only "elite" colleges and universities.  Ohio State was banned (albeit briefly) when it was basically the Ivies and little Ivies.

William's picture

Uber and Chegg are pretty well established companies. Uber is a license-free taxi service, and Chegg is a notes-selling service. They're pretty popular on college campuses. 

+1 HS
Ericgobucks's picture

I guess i am showing my age here. Thanks for the heads up. 

spqr2008's picture

Chegg also rents textbooks.

Bucksfan's picture

I think he did us all a favor.

+5 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Don't get it.

Feel free to interpret the above any way you choose...

 

I am not the Last Dragon, therefore I do not possess the power of the Glow.

+7 HS
Tanner's picture

You gotta remember that college-aged scUM fans have witnessed almost nothing but losses to The Ohio State. In that context it's understandable that there is some bitterness and lashing out.

+5 HS
CasualBystander's picture

Lol yeah I agree man, there's a ton of bitterness and lashing out going on...

"Dont worry, us students of The Ohio State University are too smart to want to use that garbabe app anyway"

 

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." - Mark Twain

-3 HS
nburns18's picture

Dont worry, us students of The Ohio State University are too smart to want to use that garbabe app anyway

"You win with people." -Woody Hayes

+5 HS
buck i's picture

Blend is streets behind. We're all using Meowmeowbeenz now.

+2 HS
baggle's picture

I tried joining, but all I got were 1's :(

BED's picture

 

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

OSUStu's picture

Sounds über-douchey.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

+2 HS
TUNBUCK89's picture

This is for you .......DROPOUT

 

+9 HS
CasualBystander's picture

Just a guess here, but I bet the contract Marcus Hall signs is smaller than the one this kid just did. And only one alumni base thinks he's classless. #Winning

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." - Mark Twain

-9 HS
Deadly Nuts's picture

UM Dropout contract: 2.7 Million

Marcus Hall's contact: 350K

Flipping Off the Out House: Priceless

 

LEBRON

+2 HS
CasualBystander's picture

350k if he gets drafted...I'd rather have the 2.7 and a future

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." - Mark Twain

OSUStu's picture

Uh, dude he got seed money from investors. That money doesn't go into his pocket.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

+6 HS
CasualBystander's picture

You're right, it doesn't go into his pockets, it goes into the business he owns that now has a valuation of at least $2.7 million.

Oh wait.....

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." - Mark Twain

Chark's picture

Just for the sake of argument, lets suppose that the marketing credo of "there's no such thing as bad publicity" applies here. What you have done is taken a lame app and given it unwarranted publicity due to the scandal (!) of excluding TOSU students. If you would have ignored it, no one would have known and it would be relegated to the dustbin of history. OSU students are smart enough to recognize a lame app, but now that it's verboten, that makes it just a little bit cooler than it would otherwise be.

Alcohol will not solve any of your problems, but then again, neither will milk or water.

+3 HS
kholmes's picture

Bingo...you nailed it. Its a publicity stunt that worked. No one would have heard of this otherwise and now Michigan boards are talking about it, OSU boards are talking about it. 

KBonay's picture

So what's the point of Ohio State boards talking about it? They can't use it. So it's not gaining any traction. 

+1 HS
CasualBystander's picture

Anytime any buckeye feels slighted it's worth talking about...

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." - Mark Twain

zhamilton05's picture

Honestly...this is kind of cool. I mean, it's a 2-bit app and who gives a care, but if it stokes the fires of the rivalry...that's a good thing, right? And with the massive student base of tOSU, this guy was pretty gutsy eliminating them as customers.

I'll be in AA tomorrow, eating at Zingerman's, proudly wearing Buckeyes attire in a sea of maize-and-blue. Blend-ing is overrated.

+1 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

Ballsy!  Have fun.  Piss on a skunk weasel for all of us.

Go Bucks!

+1 HS
buckeyerose's picture

Proving once again the mindless inferiority of Meeshigan men.  LMAO  

 

Just win!  

+2 HS
RBuck's picture

And that's about all I have to say.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

+10 HS
Ethos's picture

Facebook died when the Mom's and Dad's and teenagers could join.  When it was college-age only it was awesome.  He got greedy, made his billions, and left.  He was smarter then everybody around him.

"What do you need water for, Sunshine?!" - Coach Coombs, if you don't love this man, you have no soul.

45has2's picture

Do you have any more "dead" companies that I can invest in and double my money in one year? I don't give half a fece what teen agers think is cool. The parents and the grandparents have the real money.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

+2 HS
CasualBystander's picture

How many of you bashing this kid have secured 2.7 million in financing for ANYTHING in your lives? Let alone a concept that you created and incubated. Is the move to ban OSU catty and senile? Sure. But no worse than anything written about him in this forum, and he's got the money. What an idiot!!!!!

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." - Mark Twain

-7 HS
45has2's picture

Getting and keeping are two very different things. I have seen many medical device startups blow through their initial capital and never get another nickel. So, yes, he got some financing which isn't exactly the most difficult thing to do if you have the right contacts. Now the market will see if he knows what to do with that investment.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

+2 HS
CasualBystander's picture

You're exactly right. Now they have to succeed. But as someone who lives with 2 computer science grads/app developers and helps write up their proposals I can tell you that finding actual real life financial support is far from easy. This isn't mommy and daddy spotting them 50k for their pet project. Legitimate venture capitalists gave a group of kids 2.7 million dollars. Maybe they're on to something. 

P.S. If 2.7 million qualifies as "some" financing to you then id love if you'd review my CV

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." - Mark Twain

BuckeyeVet's picture

@CasualBystander : Me. (But I'm not bashing him. Banning OSU students is a great free marketing ploy.)

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."          - Groucho Marx

 

+2 HS
CasualBystander's picture

Literally genius. Headline news. For free. The free publicity far outweighs any income lost from buckeye nation 

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." - Mark Twain

Deadly Nuts's picture

Are Ohio University students banned as well?

LEBRON

+10 HS
ExpatBuckeye's picture

That's awesome!  I expect no less from a rivarly.  Alright, Buckeyes -- you're up.

+1 HS
osusteveb5875's picture

It's not discrimination on their part.  Just like it isn't on my part that I downloaded it for the sole purpose of being able to give it one star on iTunes.  I encourage everyone to do the same.  #screwtheblue

Buck Commander's picture

Michigan is known as the pickle licker state!.........see Bert cry!

Every time I set my DVR to record Biggest Loser......It always records Wolverine Football Games!

Go1Bucks's picture

Seems to me he did OSU students a favor by banning them.  But you are right, bad business model, when you owe 2.7 mil.

Only a scUM dropout would pull that stunt.

Go Bucks!

BuckeyeFreak4844's picture

"Well that escalated quickly"

Michigan Sucks!

buckeyedude's picture

I cringe every time I hear the words, "protected class." It reminds me so much of Animal Farm.

 

 

-1 HS
Kingbuck12's picture

I hate michigan. This whole site is well yawn. OSU for life. 

Kingbuck12

FROMTHE18's picture

kind of amazed that 'new' social networking apps actually get popular when Facebook generally takes care of everything. This turd just took Facebook's original point--being for college students only--and put it into a different app. 

SaudiBuckeye's picture

His seed funding was probably from the venture capitalist firm S&SPB, which is known for its extreme dislike of tOSU.

Never heard of it? Ok, here it is spelled out: Saban & Saban's Poodle, Bert

Only a Buckeye truly understands what it means to bleed Scarlett and Gray

NC_Buckeye's picture

Social networking has jumped the shark. Too saturated with too many players sharing too much personal info.

Privacy will be the next big technology development. Think bitcoin or something like secret.