Student-created app lets users match on music
Like many ideas, Cloe Khawam’s concept for her business came to her in the middle of the night, while studying during the spring of 2014. “I was just hit by a huge urge of inspiration,” said the JMSB marketing student.
She immediately reached out to her friend Matt Hennick, and together the two launched Scrute It—an app Khawam said is like “Tinder for music.”
The application, which officially launched in August, allows users to swipe right or left to indicate if they are interested or not interested, respectively. It also gives them a chance to compare music tastes with those potential matches. The app also allows users to post about music and artists they like, as well as chat with people they match with. Khawam said Scrute It will eventually sell tickets directly from the app as well, giving users a way to find someone to go to a concert with.
While Khawam’s original idea was to create a music review app, they learned that having an app with messaging is “the best way to make an app explode,” and they started to change the direction of Scrute It.
Khawam said it was important for her to be able to develop the idea for Scrute It without being afraid of making changes. “It’s kind of like how Instagram had the idea to be like Foursquare, but then changed,” she said. “There are a lot of startups that do that, but they have to pivot. Some people think it’s a death sentence but it’s not—it’s going to save you.”
The co-founders incorporated Scrute It and raised money to bring in developers to create the app. Since its launch two months ago, Khawam said the number of users on Scrute It is growing steadily.
“In Montreal, we’re over 200 users,” she said. “We have a pretty good, constant growth rate—but you don’t want that steady constant, you want that big explosion.”
She also said the app has picked up steam in Los Angeles and New York City.
Khawam said Scrute It is developing a campaign to give out free concert tickets to people who download the app and share it with their friends to try and get more users—which Khawam said is the company’s biggest challenge.
“There’s so many apps out there and you just need to find the right way to get the name out there,” she said. “Being in marketing, that’s always been my focus.”
However, the app has been gaining attention in the tech world: Khawam posted a video on Scrute It to Founderfox, an app where startups can post a two-minute pitch of their business ideas to investors. Founderfox then contacted Scrute It and offered to send them to TechCrunch, a large technology conference in San Francisco, last month. There, Khawam was able to network with technology giants including John McAfee, the developer of the first commercial anti-virus software.
But Khawam was also excited to find people on the West Coast were using Scrute It. “This is the coolest thing ever,” she said. “People are using the app in other places.”
While Khawam received some advice from other business owners in the tech industry, she said that, like many other startups, she largely felt she didn’t know what exactly was going on. “Most entrepreneurs will just think, ‘everything is going well so I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing,” she said. “We wear many hats, but they’re covering your eyes most of the time.”
Khawam also said being a student gives her access to resources and networking opportunities that other entrepreneurs might not have.
Khawam said the company is still looking for investors. The cost of creating a new app can run up to $20,000 per platform—a large reason why Scrute It is only currently available on iOS.
Scrute It made it to the top twelve in the Montreal Startup Challenge—a contest for startups started by students either enrolled or just graduated CEGEP or university in the last two years.
To learn more about Scrute It, visit their website at scruteit.com. The app is available in the App Store.