ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The popular DoGood iPhone application developed by University of Michigan students last year has been acquired by Tonic, a digital media company whose mission is to promote the good that happens around the world each day.
DoGood provides a daily virtuous deed suggestion for the close to 70,000 people who have downloaded it so far. The free app was developed by student-run company Mobil33t, whose members were inspired while taking the Mobile and Web App Programming computer science class in winter 2009.
The company did most of its development in TechArb, a unique student-business incubator started by Mobil33t co-founder Jason Bornhorst and now sponsored by the university.
"It's been an amazing experience," Bornhorst said. "DoGood was started in the classroom and then with help from the College of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship and TechArb, we were able to grow it from a mere idea to a worldwide movement.
"Every minute of the day a good deed is done on behalf of DoGood. As a 23-year-old entrepreneur, it's surreal to have created that kind of change in the world."
Bornhorst and his co-developers Mayank Garg and Kunal Jham are 2009 U-M graduates. They are delighted to see the evolution of their brainchild continue with this acquisition. Tonic President Will Weisman is enthusiastic as well.
"We loved what Jason, Kunal and Mayank had created and thought it was a great fit with Tonic's efforts to share all the positive, hopeful and inspirational news that happens in the world," Weisman said. "We're looking forward to integrating DoGood into Tonic.com in a deep way. That means having it become part of our website and thinking about broader mobile and social networking applications."
Some of the past year's DoGoods have been: Give a buck or two. Find the best in someone. Carpool. Make someone lunch.
Users can click "done" once they complete a task. The application keeps global activity stats to give good-deed-doers a sense of the larger campaign they are part of. Users can also post how they accomplished the deed.
A separate U-M student organization called Do Random Acts of Kindness, or DoRAK, has been writing the deeds since they formed a partnership with Mobil33t in September. They will still do this under the new ownership, and they are eager for a wider audience.
"We are thrilled to see DoGood expanding! The sole purpose of DoGood is to spread kindness, and to see it grow with a national organization is exciting," DoRAK co-directors Katie Barz and Chris Dietzel said in a written statement. "We cannot wait to see what Tonic has in store and look forward to working with them."
Bornhorst and Jham graduated with computer science and engineering degrees. Garg graduated from the School of Art & Design.
The University of Michigan College of Engineering is ranked among the top engineering schools in the country. At $160 million annually, its engineering research budget is one of largest of any public university. Michigan Engineering is home to 11 academic departments and a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center. The college plays a leading role in the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute and hosts the world class Lurie Nanofabrication Facility. Michigan Engineering's premier scholarship, international scale and multidisciplinary scope combine to create The Michigan Difference. Find out more at http://www.engin.umich.edu/.
Do GoodMobil33tMobile and Web App Programming computer science classDo Random Acts of KindnessTechArb