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Student turns down Google and Microsoft jobs to create app

BUSINESS MINDS: App founders (From left) Jordan Kunzika, Brian Gerrard and Justin Gerrard

A STUDENT who was offered full-time roles at Microsoft and Google before even graduating, decided to turn down the jobs so he could create a dating app catered for black people.

Bae (Before Anyone Else), a mobile dating app created by Jordan Kunzika and his friends Brian Gerrard and Justin Gerrard, hopes to make online dating a better experience for black people.

Kunzika, CTO of Bae and a senior at Dartmouth College, is a first generation Angolan-American who often was the only black person in his computer science classes.

Throughout his journey he had few role models of colour to look up to. “I quickly realised that it was up to me to either let this negatively affect me, or let it motivate me to be successful, so that people who come after me will have role models who look like them," Kunzika said.

The student is a Google Generation Scholar and has done internships with Microsoft and Intel, but when deciding what to do after graduation he chose to focus on his own creation.

“I was honoured to get full-time offers from Microsoft and Google before even turning 21, but I knew that I could serve a higher calling to represent a paradigm shift in what a tech entrepreneur could look like."

Kunzika met his two co-founders in his junior year of university and quickly joined the team after they pitched Bae to him. He realised that “there was no place for black men and women to easily find fulfilling relationships online, so we decided to change that. Bae would allow me to disrupt tech because we are an all-black team and are solving a big problem that affects Black people across the world.”

The Bae founders cultivated their user base by going directly to the communities they believe need the app. They hosted an Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) tour which consisted of parties and mixers where people who matched on Bae could meet in person, reported Tech Crunch.

All attendees had to have Bae downloaded to participate. Within a few weeks of their April 2015 launch, they reached 17,000 downloads, and have grown over ten times since.

Bae has now reached users all over the globe. They are even listed as a Top 50 Lifestyle app in twenty African and Caribbean countries.

Similar to other dating apps, Bae users swipe right for those they’re interested in and left for those they’re not. According to the founders what makes Bae different is their proprietary algorithm built by Kunzika.

"What users like the most about Bae,” Kunzika explained, “is the quality of the matches and that it helps you find those you’re most interested in."

For example, if you prefer to match with someone who went to a similar school as you Bae will learn that over time as you swipe right for those potential matches.

The founders’ goal is for Bae to become the best black dating app in the US and across the African diaspora.

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