New app has advice for people 18 to 28 [The Honolulu Star-Advertiser]
Through Yuru's mobile application, users ages 18 to 28 can ask questions and share advice on any topic with the online community.
"We were brainstorming categories and thought about how people might use it," said Nicole Randall, Yuru's chief marketing officer. "We thought it should be like having a guru in your pocket all of the time, and that is how we came up with Yuru -- that being you are the guru and the community is the guru."
The latest version of Yuru was made available to iPhone and Android users in October, with its corresponding website that offers a marketplace of advice scheduled to be launched in December.
Yuru's filters allow users to control who responds, choosing between only guys, only girls, just friends, just strangers or a specific age range or location.
"Even guys have been using it," Randall said, "asking questions like, 'What should I wear to this wedding? I hear the bride has hot friends.'"
Randall and Yuru Chief Executive Officer Daphne Hargrove conceived the idea last November and began working with local venture accelerator Blue Startups in April.
"They force you to move faster, which is definitely important," Hargrove said. "In the startup world you have to have things done yesterday."
Along with networking, advice and an energizing culture, Blue Startups offered the entrepreneurs help homing in on the advice application's main demographic.
User safety and privacy were major concerns for the application, with people sharing such personal information online.
"Online safety and privacy is something we take very, very seriously, and it will always be a top priority," Randall said.
Nigam also worked with the White House and the United Nations about online protection challenges.
Nigam worked more than 20 years in private industry, government and law enforcement, and founded an advisory firm for online safety called SSP Blue.
"I was looking at (Yuru) and thinking it is so cool to get a call this early on," Nigam said. "That was the really inspiring part -- help build it right the first time. If you understand that concept, you can build safety and privacy into the DNA at the beginning."
After being a mentor for Yuru at Blue Startups, Robert Robinson, professor at the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii, helped introduce the company to students.
"In college people tend to have a lot of their firsts," Hargrove said. "They are moving away for the first time, they are starting to focus on their careers, a lot of them are entering into relationships."
In an entrepreneurship course at Shidler, a group of college students is working on the Yuru pilot program.
"I think (the Yuru entrepreneurs) are very exciting," Robinson said. "They are doing something interesting and innovative. Trying to do something different is quite challenging. I think they have a lot of potential."
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