On Tuesday, Darrel Shannon ’13.5 and Lindsay McKeon ’14 released an iPhone app targeted at rising entrepreneurs. Dubbed MoneyNet, the app promises to make entry into the business world a cinch — for Shannon and McKeon but no one else.
MoneyNet works by being sold on iTunes for $1, rocketing up the bestseller list and earning Shannon and McKeon lots of money and valuable credentials. “The simplicity of its concept is part of its appeal,” said McKeon.
The app has been likened to sites like Entrestar and Ideamash, which link business-minded Brown students to peers and employers. What sets MoneyNet apart from similar startups is that it does away with unnecessary functions, such as providing a service to young entrepreneurs, and retains only essential ones, like establishing its developers as young entrepreneurs. “There are lots of resources available to students wanting to succeed in business, but MoneyNet is the first app that caters to Lindsay and me exclusively,” said Shannon.
“We began working on the app because we saw a big hole in the marketplace,” Shannon continued. “The hole was us. We weren’t a part of the marketplace. MoneyNet seeks to remedy this.”
Users of MoneyNet are greeted by a menu upon startup that gives them the option of upgrading from the trial version to the subscription version. Purchasing the subscription version gives them access to the full version, which in turn allows them to buy the enhanced full version. In MoneyNet’s current build, downloading versions is the app’s sole feature.
“There are still some bugs we need to work out,” said McKeon. “For example, right now we only have a staff of four, which is a bug, because a staff of eight would look better on a résumé.”
MoneyNet has drawn mixed reactions from Brown students.
Students like Ryan Warner ’12 have applauded Shannon and McKeon and the dedication they have shown in developing and marketing their app. “I’m always impressed by this kind of student initiative,” said Warner. “It reminds me of the initiative I demonstrated when I founded my non-profit, Ryan’s Yard. The organization taught undernourished people living in my house, like me, how to plant sustainable vegetable gardens in their yards.”
Others have leveled harsh criticism at MoneyNet and its founders. “They’re so selfish it’s pathetic,” said Lillian Henry ’14, the principal developer of a competing application called Getup-Startup. “They’ve forgotten what making an app like this is all about, which is pleasing severe and cold-hearted fathers.”
But Shannon and McKeon say they are far more concerned by the responses of potential employers than those of their fellow students. These have been overwhelmingly positive so far.
“Wow! They made this on their own while attending college?” asked Howard Bennington, chief operating officer at Amazon.com, after viewing the MoneyNet promotional video yesterday. “What does it do? Never mind – it doesn’t matter. Hire these two immediately.”