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Wiley student, grads create social media app

By Bridget Ortigo
Oct. 24, 2017 at 4 p.m.

Wiley College student and graduates   Michael Sakala, left,  Felix Ekwueme and Scot Pippen Inyanza, along with Russell Jones   (not pictured),    launched a new social media mobile app on Saturday.

For those who have ever scrolled through their social media feed, wishing they could get out and experience some of the events they see friends posting about, a group of Wiley College graduates and one student have invented a new mobile application that aims to get you out in the world, sharing those memorable experiences with friends.

Wiley College graduates Felix Ekwueme, 25, Scot Pippen Inyanza, 23, Russell Jones, 27, and current senior Michael Sakala, 25, launched their new mobile app called "Tell 'Em" on Saturday.

"We've created a mobile app for the iPhone — Android will come out in about two more months — that you can view videos and photos of your friends at events but instead of just sitting at home, looking at videos of the event, you can swipe up and buy tickets to it and get out and experience it yourself," Ekwueme said.

"Say one of your friends is at a museum and posts a cool photo or video from there. You see it and would like to go experience that too so you would swipe up on your phone app and it would take you to a screen where you can purchase a ticket. We've also partnered with Lyft and you can schedule a ride to pick you up through the app."

The app uses a phone's map to pull up events and restaurants in the immediate area and the phone's camera to share photos and videos.

"On the 'Tell 'Em' app, you get points for every video, photo or ticket you buy," Ekwueme said. "Those points can be turned into money to be used on the app. Also, when purchasing a ticket through the app, when you get to the checkout screen, there is an option to split the payment with a friend or relative. A lot of college kids might not have all of the money they need for an event so they can borrow money by splitting the payment with someone else on the app."

The app is free to download and a full description of the app with demonstrations on how to use it can be found at the app's website, www.wetellem.com.

Ekwueme, who works for IBM in Boston, has a background heavy in computer software, as does Inyanza. They combined their computer application knowledge with Sakala and Jones' financial and business administration skills to form the "Tell 'Em" mobile app company.

The four app creators all come from diverse backgrounds overseas, with Sakala coming to the U.S. from Zambia, Jones from Trinidad and Tobago, Inyanza from Kenya and Ekwueme from Niger. They all met and formed a strong friendship while attending Wiley College.

"We couldn't have created this app if it wasn't for our experiences at Wiley College and God," Inyanza said.

"All of our steps have been properly guided by him. The name 'Tell 'Em' for the app has a very personal meaning. It's about going and telling the good news — what the devil planned for bad, God turned to good," Ekwueme said.

The app also offers users an opportunity to purchase photos from an event.

"Just recently, we attended a wedding that a friend could not make it to and we took photos," Ekwueme said. "Afterwards, they were searching and asking if anyone had any photos from the wedding. The app is perfect for instances like that where people could purchase those photos from weddings or graduations immediately, right from the app. And not only would they get affordable photos, they would get reward points for using the app."

The reward points on the app can be used to purchase Lyft rides or event tickets.

The group said their revenue will come from advertisers on the app, such as local restaurants and venues, as well as photo and ticket sales.

Ekwueme said the group's market research showed them that two-thirds of social media users are already posting videos.

"They can post them on our app and turn them into money and live experiences for others," he said. "We enable our users to earn money by sharing videos and buying tickets to those experiences. Being with friends and family creates unforgettable memories for everyone, and we are using our video platform to facilitate that."

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