BU Students Launch New Event and Activity Aggregator Popple
App helps users find local happenings…and friends
What do bored college students do? Sit on their phones? Go on a walk? Wallow in loneliness?
Well, if you’re Prianna Sharan and Remi Chester, you get to work.
“We were talking about freshman year and how much more difficult it was [to find things to do] when you’re just bored,” Chester (Questrom’25) says. “We thought, why don’t we just create something to solve that issue?”
Enter Popple, Sharan (CAS’25) and Chester’s new app to alleviate boredom and help users find new friends. Popple aggregates events at BU and around Boston geared towards college students, like Innovate@BU’s IdeaCon or Indie Music at Wonderland Allston. Users can filter events based on their interests, such as art, technology, hiking, and more.
The best part may be joining a Popple, a themed group of three to eight people who sign up to attend an event together. After joining, users can access the group chat feature, which helps them get to know one another and coordinate before the event.
“You don’t know who’s in the group until you join, so it’s a bit of a surprise,” Sharan says. “The idea is getting people out of their dorms and at in-person events with a safe space and with a couple of people that they know are going and have similar interests.” So gone are the days of wondering whether or not you’d find a familiar face at an event you want to attend. Just open the app, join a Popple, and you’re ready to go.
Technology has brought us closer, but Popple is the first app to actually bring people together.
The two women began working on the app last January and since then have taken part in numerous events and pitch competitions at BU and beyond. They applied to both the Innovate@BU New Venture Competition and the School of Hospitality Administration’s Poyiadjis Hospitality Innovation Competition, where Popple took home the second-place prize: $15,000 in seed money.
Sharan and Chester also joined MassChallenge, the biggest start-up accelerator in Massachusetts and one of the biggest in the world. MassChallenge uses an equity-free model, which empowers entrepreneurs and gives them access to networking and mentorship opportunities while ensuring they remain in control and ownership of their idea. Popple was one of two BU start-ups to be accepted, and Sharan and Chester were the youngest team in this year’s program.
Since January, they have worked closely with Innovate@BU, specifically executive director Siobhan Dullea (CAS’91), program director Tom Samph (COM’10), and curriculum director Ian Mashiter, Questrom’s James E. Freeman Lecturer. Sharan and Chester say the advice of these mentors was very helpful in their MassChallenge application.
And after months of learning, designing, beta testing, and debugging, Popple will soon hit the Apple App Store. You can also check out Popple’s browser version.
“Technology has brought us closer, but Popple is the first app to actually bring people together,” Sharan says. “We’re really trying to build safe spaces and communities around BU.”
If your club, organization, or team wants to learn more about Popple or if you are interested in an internship in the areas of finance, public relations, or strategy, email email@example.com.