FindItU Working To Become ‘One-Stop Shop’ App For Penn State Students
Apartments. Textbooks. Events. Bar specials. Downtown restaurants. Students are always searching for something, and FindItU’s on a mission to eliminate the stress of the “Class of 20XX” Facebook pages with its new app, launching February 1.
Andrew Strause, a 2017 Smeal alumnus, first thought of the idea for FindItU to focus on apartment listings — the service was almost named Lion Pads. What became OrderUp and was recently acquired by GrubHub was originally named Lion Menus, so things are looking good for the team if that’s any indication of future success.
While apartment listings and bar specials are FindItU’s bread and butter, the website and app are working to expand to include search features for a number of things students are interested in finding more information on, like sublets, jobs, restaurants, textbooks, fundraisers, events, rideshare, and more.
“We really wanted to be a one-stop shop,” Strause said. “Sublets and rideshare sort of came out of how many people are posting about that and that there’s a need for something to be created to solve that problem individually.”
The jobs section of the app will include a variety of ways you can spend your time on a job or even volunteer basis, so students can compare listings based on whether the experience is paid or not.
Sublets will also cater to those who may be staying a fifth year and don’t necessarily know many potential roommates because theirs have already graduated. The forum will have sections for both individuals seeking sublets and groups seeking an individual to fill a space.
Strause said FindItU hopes to launch the jobs category as soon as possible, while sublets and textbook exchange will go live in time for the fall semester.
“Students aren’t paying us for anything, but they’re our number one priority,” Strause said. “I think all of these solve problems so that people would be willing to use them.”
Instead of students paying to use FindItU, businesses like apartment complexes and restaurants can buy in to be shown as the top listings of their respective sections. However, FindItU isn’t like other apartment finding tools. The team’s goal is to list all available apartments in State College, and they’ve gathered the data themselves about the options, including price and maximum occupancy.
“We’re listing all of the information we can find and charging more to be higher in listings,” Strause said. “Users can see a sampling of what’s available instead of trying to click through everything and figure it all out themselves.”
Even if you’re already squared away on housing, you can start using FindItU right away to check in on bar lines and cover charges downtown. Students can self-report on how long they waited or how much they paid for cover, and the team is working with bar owners and management to get them to weigh in each night, as well, to ensure even greater accuracy of the information.
FindItU is trying to get the word out by speaking with different student groups, especially with commonwealth campuses, and with freshmen, who haven’t yet experienced the housing process. The team also hopes to connect with more international students.
“We have really good connections with the university,” Strause said, “not just on a student level, but administratively.” Strause and FindItU team member Dan Lordan have both developed great relationships through their time as students and in working for the university after graduation.
“I think everybody can figure out some kind of experience they have that this app can help them with,” Strause said. In its initial stages, the team is working to constantly adapt the app and its services to make sure it FindItU caters to what students really want and need.
If all goes well, FindItU hopes to expand to schools similar to Penn State and ultimately to larger cities, as well, which could include multiple universities.
You can download the app for free on Google Play and it’s also available as a mobile site for iPhone users on whatever browser you use.