TCU, SMU students collaborate on app for students, businesses


Fort Worth pizzeria was the first local business to jump on board and advertise through Vuzag. (Photo courtesy of Chris Lane)

By Michael Rogers

A new app is giving people in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex a personalized guide to what’s happening around town.

The app — called Vuzag — was developed by two SMU football players, Daniel Gresham and Rob Seals, and a 2018 TCU graduate, Chris Lane.

Gresham asked Lane to help him develop the app when the idea was in its early phases.

“He asked me if I wanted to be a part of a project that he was going to begin working on,” Lane said. “Something told me in that phone call that I needed to do everything in my power to meet with Daniel and see what he was talking about.”

Users of the app create a profile, similar to other social media sites and apps, and take a survey about their interests to get personalized results from verified businesses, community events and hot spots around town.

Gresham said his goal with the app is to “connect the world to their local communities through the personalization of information.”

Brandon Johnson, 24, helped Gresham sell Vuzag to local businesses, going door-to-door in a process he described as “nerve-racking.” (Photo courtesy of Brandon Johnson)

Once users are signed in, they join location-based group chats to see what everyone is talking about.

“If you’re interested in [something], it pops up,” Gresham said. “The way that it pops up is it displays a 30-second introduction video that lets people know what’s unique about that location today, and when you click on that location you can see what’s happening inside of it in real-time.”

Users can connect with other users in their area. TCU, SMU and several other universities throughout the country have their own “group chats.”

“Whether you’re here or in Miami, the app will learn stuff you like to do, what places you like to go to and on your homepage, it can recommend, based on your location, what type of stuff you would be interested in attending or going to,” Gresham said.

The app provides real-time search results, and all the content that pops up is based on the user’s location.

“All of the users on the app who are at these locations create the information, so the search engine is crowd-sourced,” Gresham said.

Vuzag’s users also have the ability to create public or private events and invite people to join their events.

“You create your own introduction video and anyone within a specific mile radius that chooses that category you put it under can attend,” Gresham said.

To say thanks to users for using the app and helping to build the platform, they’re rewarded with points and prizes.

“At the end of the month, there’s a top-10 leaderboard which shows the top point earners in the app,” Gresham said.

Gresham said January’s top point earner won tickets to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. It’s their way to show their users they’re grateful.

“The users are building the search engine,” Gresham said. “You understand that we are using your information, but we want to be different and reward you guys for using this platform.”

Other past giveaways to top point earners include tickets to the Texas State Fair, Beyonce tickets and several other food and experience deals.

Gresham said they are looking to sell the company one day, branding Vuzag as anyone’s “live snapshot of their local community.”