UT students win prize for business card mobile app

Emma Acosta

Three UT students won a $5,000 prize Saturday at the BodyHacking Con 2016 Startup Pitch Competition for pitching their crowd-favorite application ForeverCard.

In 2014, educational administration graduate student Michael Barnes and business honors and finance senior Zulian Tjuatja began working on ForeverCard, an application that allows users to scan any business card directly into their phones. After acquiring the help of lead developer, business freshman Jose Bethancourt, they were able to launch the app in the summer of 2015.

“For me, the problem we were trying to solve was very significant,” Tjuatja said. “Around McCombs, everyone is always networking and exchanging contact information, so business cards were an annoyance to me.”

ForeverCard was one of 10 finalists asked to pitch in the competition out of 70 candidates. The team presented to a public crowd of around 70 people and close to 140 livestream viewers. 

Nursing sophomore Jessica Nguyen said the app could be a helpful tool for students and future employers. It could help with networking at campus events geared toward finding employers after graduation, Nguyen said.

“I know a lot of people go to career fairs that are offered here on campus,” Nguyen said. “If those companies are aware of this app and don’t mind, then it’s easy to just sync up that information. I think it’s a good way to keep up with who you talked to at career fairs also.”

Wendy Mejia, UT alumna and technical sales representative for Zello, a local walkie-talkie app, said she sees the value of the application in customer-oriented markets which rely on customer information such as names, titles and company email.

“I think users that can benefit from this app are companies with a sales force, and companies who have a strong [customer relationship management] platform,” Mejia said. “An app like ForeverCard is great to have when meeting new customers, making a sale or at a convention where you meet several key contacts.”

The ForeverCard team hopes to expand their sales and marketing divisions to help promote the app and fix bugs with the money they won. They also plan on hiring more people to help Bethancourt keep up with the development work. 

“I can’t believe [the process started] two years ago — it’s such a long time now,” Tjuatja said. “To me the app is sort of my baby. … I want to see it through and make it better and better.”