The app Radius, co-founded by Georgetown student Tali Salhon (MSB ’17), recently obtained a starting $50,000 investment from the Turkish company, Galata Business Angels Group.
Valued at $1.25 million, the location-based messaging app is headquartered in Turkey and the majority of its users currently reside in the United States, United Kingdom and Turkey. Salhon, along with The George Washington University junior Eytan Nahmiyas and University of Pennsylvania junior Sinan Koc, have been working on the app for the past two years.
Radius aims to connect friends who are in the same vicinity, anywhere from 150 feet to half a mile. Users can opt to receive push notifications when friends cross into their set radius and are able to create group chats or individual messages with those nearby friends, all without disclosing exact location. Radius’ primary purpose is to make it easier to communicate and meet up with nearby friends. Inspired by Snapchat, Radius’ chats expire after 24 hours without use.
Nahmiyas said the long-term goal of the app was to change daily lives for its users, especially college students.
“We hear many stories from people, on how they saw their friends were in their radius, in the most random places and how they ended up meeting up through Radius. We want these stories to be part of more people’s lives,” Nahmiyas said.
The Radius team is currently comprised of several college students across the nation, with members at Georgetown,The George Washington University, the University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, and more. Members of the team hold the majority of the shares in the company, with family and friend investors holding 19.2 percent and the Galata Business Angels Group holding another 4 percent.
Salhon spends over two to three hours a day working on Radius-related activities, including contacting developers and team members, attending promotional events and building the app itself.
“The fun part of it is you get to make all the decisions. The not-so-fun part of it is that there are too many decisions to make,” Salhon said.
Although Salhon said he enjoys working on Radius, he also said that this lifestyle can be exhausting. Since the developer team is based in Turkey, the time difference requires him to go to bed late and wake up early in order to communicate with them. Salhon also must do mundane tasks like writing a privacy statement, emailing back and forth with a lawyer about the logo, and paying the app store fee. However, he concluded that he enjoys the opportunities Radius brings him.
“I like this lifestyle because it opens so many doors,” Salhon said.
Salhon expressed his desire to eventually return to Turkey, where he grew up, and develop a strong start-up culture.
“When the time comes, [I want] to go back to Turkey and create something better … using our contacts through what we did through Radius,” Salhon said.
This summer, the Radius team will congregate in San Francisco to work full-time on the app. The main goals for the summer will be to improve the product based on feedback and data collected from the app thus far, to build a network in the city, and to raise more money if needed. Salhon expressed the importance of the upcoming summer in the growth of their company.
“We have a team, we have a plan and we have a product. There’s no reason to fail right now unless we can’t grow … so this summer is going to be targeted towards how [to] grow a lot, starting with targeted universities,” Salhon said.
Ata Sari, a junior at University of California, Santa Barbara and West Coast regional manager, said that working with Radius has been a positive growing experience.
“College is such a convenient environment for start-ups with its immense opportunities. We should all learn from our minor mistakes, which contributes to our personal development,” Sari said.