Young CEO launches social app for the masses
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | Nov. 30, 2016
A 22-year-old entrepreneur from Haliburton is in the midst of launching a social app he hopes will go global.
Cole Rowden and his business partners, 22-year-old Troy McNamara and 24-year-old Soham Trivedi, gave about 300 people, including many locals, a sneak peek into getWyred during a soft launch at the Queens Hotel in Barrie on Nov. 25.
“It was really good,” said Rowden in a phone interview.
A select group of 50 people were able to download the app. The rest will be able to download it in the coming weeks.
The app, which took a year to build, connects people to events around them. It allows users to scroll through live photo and video feeds of activities within a 150 km radius, according to a press release.
Rowden, who admits he never was a techie, came up with the idea three years ago after becoming frustrated while trying to decide where to go one night with his roommates.
“It took me a while, but finally we formed a team,” he said. “I started working on the commercial side of this business and I left the technical side to those guys.”
Rowden was born and raised in Haliburton. He played junior hockey and worked for his parents’ construction business, Rowden Building.
In June, the team received a boost when they won the smOffice business competition at The Creative Space in Barrie. The incubation program awarded them $60,000 in prizes for legal, accounting, marketing and banking support, plus mentorship and advice.
Some people think he’s crazy, but many, like his family and friends, have been supportive.
“I think growing up in such a small community like Haliburton really allows friends to tie close bonds,” he said.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride, but Rowden is in it for the long haul.
“You start with this idea and think ‘I’m going to be rich, I’m going to be the next Mark Zuckerberg.’ You quickly realize that is not how this business works. It’s probably the hardest business in the world to get off the ground.”
He encourages young people from small towns to pursue their goals, even if they seem larger than life.
“If it’s in your mind just go for it. There are ways and there’s help out there,” he said.
getWyred is available free for download on the App Store. It will become active within a month. A version for Android phones is in the works.
For more information, visit getwyred.com.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.