As a middle or high school, student life is often filled with questions. They might be about study, future decisions, school life or a very many other things. Sometimes it’s not always easy to ask for advice from those older than you, especially when you would like to know something without the risk of being judged by your peers or family. Startup company Tangible Idea is connecting young students with older university students who act as mentors through their new app MEEPLE.
MEEPLE was released earlier this year in January on iOS and is a mixed combination of the words “MEEting” and PLacE”. The app provides a safe outlet for middle and high school students to ask questions to older students who are currently attending or have graduated from a university. Since age is also very important in Korean culture, MEEPLE gives teenagers an easy way of reaching out to older students without feeling the usual social pressures. Mentees, or those who are looking to be mentored can easily join via the app after filling in basic information such as their grade and which school they attend. Once a member, a list of mentors is recommended to the user which they can send requests to.
Likewise, volunteer mentors are given a list of recommended Mentees. The pair can start talking once the Mentee has approved the request. As expected, users can set up a mini-profile adding a short sentence about themselves and a picture if desired. If the mentee finds the mentor particularly helpful they can become friends and continue to send messages to each other anytime they like. Any inappropriate behavior can easily be reported to admins via an option in the settings menu. An Android version of the app is expected to be released later this month and there are plans to incorporate more languages, including English, to cater to students worldwide. One of Tangible Idea’s developers, Shawn Byun, says they are currently working on extending MEEPLE to a web-based platform.
“The current platform only allows mentors (college students) and mentees (secondary students) to meet; however, mentors or mentees do not have the luxury or the opportunity to chat with their peers. More specifically, mentors do not know other mentors and same goes for mentees. The web platform will supplement the smart phone application.”
Tangible Idea was founded in July 2011 with five members. Before launching, the startup formed a mutual agreement with MODU Communications, which produces a magazine also aimed at teens. The number of mobile users switching to smartphones continues to increase and Tangible Idea looks forward to MEEPLE growing with this trend. Byun pointed out that the company will not only purely focus on MEEPLE but is planning other projects as well.
“We do have a few more applications in the pipeline and we are also planning to work closely with a company in Southeast Asia for a joint-project.”
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