Going out always involves a lot of guesswork: Will the party at the club be bumping? Or will you wait for an hour only to find a lifeless crowd?

An award-winning app being developed by a team of college students could make those social missteps a thing of the past.

Longwood University senior Allen Butler is using his technical expertise to help develop Nuvu, an app that a startup company hopes to release within the next year. The app—free to users, with revenue coming from businesses—will provide a wide array of information, virtually instantly, about clubs, bars, events and other aspects related to nightlife. The company, Nuvu Inc., hopes to launch a beta version by May 2015.

"It’s a solution to a problem," said Butler, an information systems and security major from Stafford County, near Fredericksburg. "Now you kind of guess when you plan your night out. With this app, people won’t have to wait in long lines at clubs or events only to be disappointed at what lies behind those doors.

"We want to shape your night, to help you decide where to go—the hottest places to be, or where your friends or coworkers are hanging out. It’s designed to connect you to a new kind of nightlife experience."

A website for the app (nuvuapp.com) went live Sept. 23. A demo of the app, to be available on the Android and IOS platforms, will be finished by mid-October. "The demo, which is a stripped-down version of the final product, proves that its features are functional," said Butler.

Butler is the self-described "tech guy" in the company, originally called Bounce Nightlife, which includes three other principals.

The company’s dreams got a major boost in April 2014 when it won the Richard Bernstein Competition, an annual business plan competition for startup companies sponsored by Salisbury University’s Perdue School of Business. Bounce Nightlife, one of about 20 companies in the competition, won $15,600, which has been invested back into the company.

The company will compete Oct. 24 in the Shore Hatchery Entrepreneurship Competition, also sponsored by Salisbury’s business school.

Butler got involved in the startup through a high school friend, Nick Giambra, the company’s marketing director, now a senior marketing major at Salisbury University. The company was co-founded in 2013 by Nick Simpson, a May 2014 Salisbury graduate who handles business details, and Ryan Nuzum, who, like Simpson, lives in nearby Ocean City, Md.

A few apps, including Imabee and clubZone, perform similar functions, but Butler believes Nuvu offers unique features and better functionality—for example, giving the user real time data and a platform to connect with their friends. "This is a market that has not been taken advantage of," he said.

Butler’s Longwood adviser, Dr. Randy Boyle, associate professor of information systems, agrees that the concept is unique.

"This app is quite innovative," said Boyle, who has given Butler technology-related advice. "It’s a new angle in social media that hasn’t been looked at. What is interesting and rare is that it combines electronic social media with a traditional brick-and-mortar company, in this case social clubs.

"The app will be useful to single people, especially young singles, and club owners, who will get the exact clientele they want in their club. Young people will get to meet the people they want to meet and go to the places they want to go to. The prospect for this startup company to get what is called an ‘angel investor’ is very high."

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