Two ex students from Coventry University have been hard at work since their graduation. They plan to provide new students, current students, ex students and party people in general with an amazing new app called Onitt, which tells you all about the nightlife events going on in and around Coventry.
Been waiting for something like this to come about? Well, the wait is over. We caught up with Onitt creators Ben and Alex to find out more about them, Onitt and their technological journey up until now. Read on to find out more…
What did you study at CU?
Me and Alex studied Product Design at Cov uni for four years.
Eight of us from our uni group went to China in our 3rd year to work for companies over there on everything from branding design to household mops to electronic devices for the home. We worked with some quality people over the course of our degree – most of them are still close friends and working in the design industry now, so the design lot at Coventry is a pretty close knit group. Uni was quality all round, really, so I’d advise anyone there to make the absolute most of it!
What is Onitt?
All the nearby nightlife events, deals, promotions and venues in your pocket! As soon as you open up the app you’ll have access to all the nightlife venues and events in your area, or if you’re going to a new city you can check in advance where’s cool to go.
That’s basically what we do. There’s a lot of other fun stuff on there, and over the next couple of months we’re looking to add a selection of cool features in that our users will get the chance to vote and have a say on… but you will have to download to stay in the know about it all! 😉
How did you come up with the idea?
Naturally the idea happened at the pub! Well, leaving the pub and bumping into the blackboard sign outside, which had all the current drinks offers on. I didn’t understand why in this day and age there wasn’t really a digital version of that sign.
At the time I’d been trying to get regular freelance design work after fairly brief stints in Leeds and London. I was always throwing mostly rubbish business ideas at my mates in the mean time, hoping one would stick.
I text a bunch of my mates with the idea and they enjoyed it, one of them being Alex, who I figured was equally silly enough to start working on the idea alongside me.
It sounded like a laugh and I knew Ben wouldn’t have a chance without me!
Over a couple more drinks we decided the idea was significantly more fun than what we were up to career-wise at the time, and we thought we should probably give it a go.
The plan from the beginning was to create the app we would have loved to have while at uni, and I think we are on track so far (fingers crossed) – people seem to be enjoying it, anyway!
How did CU help you create it?
The people and support network at Coventry are ace. Without them it would have been a hell of a lot more difficult than it has been, although it hasn’t been that easy by any means!
Alan Malin, our business advisor, is a legend, and he’s guided us throughout our pre-startup stage. We were put in touch with him via Tim Francis of the Intellectual Property department at the uni, who helped me sort out some IP on a product I designed back when I was studying.
Connections have been a big thing for us, to be honest – we’ve learnt a hell of a lot by meeting people, and the uni is full of people who know their stuff! Most of our best mates went there as well who are now quality connections to have advice and career wise.
With regards to the app itself, all the stuff we learned while we were at uni designing allowed that to happen. Without the knowledge or skills from the course I wouldn’t have been able to have been given a job in design or even be thinking about trying to do this now.
Who is the app for?
Everyone, really! Party animals, people looking for a good deal, people who like to get out and about, people who don’t want to miss out, people who like to explore and people looking for a cool place to get a drink with their mates.
It’s not necessarily just for students, but we think they might be the ones that go out the most judging by Freshers’ Week! We’ve just about recovered from a bar crawl we ran for Onitt last Friday, so god knows how they’re feeling after a whole week!
Why did you want to create it initially?
We wanted to create an app we’d use right now and would have been ace to have whilst at uni. There’s a load of quality places out there that a lot of people don’t know about, and events people miss out on by just not hearing about them before they happen.
London seems to have one or two apps with ‘curated’ lists of events and whatnot, but we don’t like the idea of that. We want to discover the places and events ourselves – not be shown all the stuff that the ‘curator’ puts in front of us. Everyone has a different idea of a great night out anyway!
So far it’s been a good laugh one way or another, so I’d say the idea of doing something a bit different was a bonus for us personally too.
We want people to pitch their ideas and help shape the app to be the best it can be.
If people want to find out more about Ben, Alex, Onitt and how they can get in touch (or #getonitt, ha), the links to all their different channels are below: