Toga is a social calendar app designed to help college students stay in the loop about campus events, so no student has to spend another Tuesday wondering if there’s something better to do than watch Netflix. Co-Founder Noah Johnson explains the motivation for creating the app:
“All of our friends would ask the same question, ‘What’s going on tonight?’, and we wanted to find a place where we could aggregate all of the events that related to our core demographic, as college students. We grew that entire concept, we built the product and tested it out with beta tests at USC and University of Texas and it really grew from there.”
“We view Toga as the social calendar for your university. We want Toga to be a student’s social life in the palm of your hand.”
Last semester, Toga launched at the University of Southern California, the University of Texas, and Vanderbilt University. The app has had a strong response from students across the country, with registered users at over 250 colleges. This fall, Johnson says Toga will focus on launching at 10-20 additional campuses.
“I was really excited when launching the product, but I didn’t know how fast it would expand. We captured about 40% of the Greek market at all the schools we launched at in less than two weeks, with no real marketing strategy, and it really grew by word of mouth.”
Johnson is taking a semester off as a student in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California to focus on developing Toga. This is Johnson’s first startup and in the beginning, he says:
“It took a lot of learning. I really believe that you need to fail before you can progress, so it was a lot of taking risks and stepping outside of our comfort zone.”
The app is a resource to track what’s happening in a campus community, but with a feature called ‘Peek’, users can also check out other campuses. Johnson explains:
“Essentially, we’re able to connect schools, so it allows you to peek into social calendars at different campuses. I think that’s something really
unique, which allows us to connect friends at different schools, as well as your cross-town rival.
The team at Toga currently includes five full-time team members, who come from several colleges.
“Our office has a lot of energy, one thing that separates us from other event sites is that we have a great focus on the college demographic. There’s a lot of perspectives on how to understand different campuses, how to market to different students.”
Ultimately, Johnson says the biggest lesson he has learned thus far is to keep going.
“It takes a lot of work to do this, and you need to continue to iterate, learn from your customers, and keep going. It sounds very cliche, but if you keep moving you will keep progressing, you will see the fruition and benefits of that hard work.”
Are you using Toga at your school? Want to see it expand? Talk to us @StarterNoise using #TogaAppParty
From the markets of Budapest to the skyscrapers of London, Caitlin is our expert on all things European. Located in Copenhagen, Denmark, Caitlin keeps us up-to-date on the European startup landscape, plus culture, food and whatever she finds along the way.