A Generous Helping of Alumni App-etizers


It's hard to remember a time before apps. And yet, that time was...only 8 years ago!

Ever since they first emerged in 2008, app popularity hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. As of June 2015, over 100 billion apps have been downloaded from the Apple App Store. It's not that surprising, considering all that apps can do. Nowadays, you can use apps to do something as challenging as learning a new language, something as mindless as popping virtual bubble wrap, and everything in between.

Columbians have been contributing the app store catalog since it began. But, ever since the Columbia Startup Lab opened in 2014, it seems as though app development by Columbians had really taken off. Whether you're looking to train your palate, help children in need, give your dog an online presence, or all of the above, there’s an app for that. Here are our favorite apps from Columbia alumni (in no particular order): 


Vymo_LMS.pngFor the task rabbit: Vymo

Description provided by The Times of India

While doing their engineering assignments together in BITS Pilani in 2003, Yamini Natti and Venkat Malladi '06SEAS had never for a moment imagined that one day they would be founding a startup together. But a decade-long friendship and a common passion to solve a major enterprise problem, drove the two Hyderabad-bred techies to come together in 2013 to start Vymo in Bengaluru.

The mobile application collects information from various sources and offers employees contextual recommendations for improving their tasks. "Vymo is actually a Google Now equivalent for enterprises. It's a personal assistant application that predicts what a representative or a manager should do next to drive growth," Yamini says.

Share.pngFor the do-good eater: ShareBite

Description provided by Columbia Startup Lab

Mohsin Memon '14BUS saw the tremendous market opportunity in further digitalizing the food sector, since only 5% of the $70 billion restaurant delivery and takeout market in the United States is ordered digitally. He took this, and combined it with his desire to help fight a cause he cares about dearly: childhood hunger.

ShareBite is a food ordering app with a social twist — it’s both charitable and communal. The charitable aspect promises that 2% of every transaction being given to a charity of the customer’s choice, with over one million charities to choose from. The communal portion allows users to see what neighbors and friends are ordering, and what dishes are trending in a given area.

ShareBite’s preferred charity is with City Harvest, where a meal is provided for a child facing hunger in NYC for every meal ordered on the platform.

Taste.pngFor the social foodie: Tastd

Description provided by Columbia Startup Lab

Jacopo Ghidoni '15BUS and Andrea Pedroni '15BUS are both Italian, former McKinsey consultants, and, most importantly, food fanatics. When they moved to NYC in January 2014, they started searching for great restaurants to try, and the massive amount of (often contradicting) recommendations available on existing communities and guides made them turn very quickly to their foodie friends for suggestions. When they realized that there wasn’t the perfect tool for quickly sharing restaurant recommendations, Tastd was born

Tastd wants to make it easy to keep track of and share your favorite restaurants with your friends. Picture Tastd as an “Instagram for restaurant recommendations, where your favorite restaurants replace your photos.” No more calls, emails, texts: just tell your friends, “follow me on Tastd.”

ND.pngFor the fine diner in a hurry: NeuroDining

Description provided by Columbia Startup Lab

Ever since she’d been in the professional world, Hitomi Kimura, ʼ14SEAS had been frustrated with her fine dining prospects. Navigating through endless unreliable ratings and hundreds of eateries was time-consuming, and didn’t always provide for a good meal. Kimura and her team set out to map the high-end restaurants of New York City in an effort to more easily and effectively connect them to diners. Many delicious meals later, NeuroDining was born.

NeuroDining offers unique dining solutions for busy Manhattan professionals by connecting them with an easier way to make restaurant reservations. Through an e-concierge app, NeuroDiners can book pre-reserved tables at New York’s finest restaurants in seconds. NeuroDining Members are even guaranteed last-minute reservations at many restaurants, and receive welcome drinks from their favorite eateries.

CThru_Nut.pngFor the health nut: cTHRU Nutrition

Description provided by product website

According to founders, Adeel Murtaza '12SPS and Christine Chiou '09BUS, cTHRU Nutrition aims "to empower consumers with technology and information so that they can make food purchasing decisions quickly and confidently."

cTHRU Pro is an easy to use, elegant app that consumers can use to make healthier food choices, manage their dietary intake, and save money via individualized coupons. The app works in both grocery stores and restaurants to give consumers the best all-around experience. Consumers who want to use the app for family members including young children or their parents will have the ability to add additional members. Consumers with conditions such as diabetes, celiac disease, food allergies, etc will find this app particularly useful as we partner with brands, restaurants and organizations to bring you products, news, savings and an ability to find the foods that fit your needs.

Wag.pngFor the dog lover: WagTail

Description provided by Columbia Spectator

Columbia alumni Steve Xie, ’15BUS, and Jinghan Hao, ’10SIPA, initially intended their app, Wagtail, to be a social media space that allowed dog owners to provide profiles for their pets and fully dedicate their posts to their animal friends, but it evolved to include a space for canine-loving humans as well. It provides an outlet for dog lovers to share photos of their canines with customizable profiles, to meet and keep in contact with fellow dog lovers through a built-in instant messenger, and to ask and answer questions related to dogs through the community forum.

Now all dog fanatics finally have a space to blow up each other’s news feeds with pictures of pets without the fear of losing followers.


Apps From The University


For the horticulturist: Leafsnap

Leafsnap is a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution. The free mobile apps use visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves. They contain beautiful high-resolution images of leaves, flowers, fruits, petioles, seeds and bark.

When Google Earth is not enough: EarthObserver

EarthObserver is a mobile application created at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in the City of New York. With EarthObserver you can learn about the planet’s terrestrial landscapes, oceans and seas, frozen ice caps, atmosphere and clouds, geologic terrains, topography, nautical charts, natural hazards, human impacts, and many other earth and environmental science topics as you travel and explore with your finger.

For the Columbia news junkie: Columbia Magazine

This free app helps you stay connected to Columbia University, its alumni, its research, and its impact, wherever you are. Published quarterly by the Office of Alumni and Development, the magazine's print edition reaches over 300,000 alumni, faculty, donors, and friends worldwide.

Have a Columbia alumni app that you think should be included in the list? Let us know via email.