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Student-created Evyree app aims to help students find local discounts, save money

Thomas Kay, Carol Liang and Kareem Dibs (left to right) stand together for a photo. The alumnus and students helped start up Evyree, which is an app that collaborates with local businesses to provide student discounts. (Eden Yu/Daily Bruin)

By Aditi Sreenivas

Oct. 19, 2023 6:31 p.m.

This post was updated Oct. 24 at 8:50 p.m.

A new app is sharing savings with UCLA students and beyond.

Launched in the summer of 2023, Evyree collaborates with local businesses to serve as a centralized platform for advertising student discounts and deals. Because over 80% of students receive financial aid in college, founder and fourth-year business economics and psychology student Carol Liang said Evyree aims to relieve students’ financial burdens. Chief operating officer and alumnus Thomas Kay said Evyree hopes to help students find local discounts through the app features, including options to filter deals by business type and maps to find deals through a geographic context. With a large focus on restaurants, local stores and tourist attractions, Evyree provides students with the opportunity to learn about businesses in the Los Angeles area and save money, Kay said.

“For freshmen or sophomores that first come to UCLA, they can look at the map that we have on our app and know exactly where exactly they can get good deals in Westwood, or even hopefully across California and America in the future,” Kay said.

[Related: Student-created website Roomble helps UCLA students find ideal roommates]

After discovering the student discount at Pinches Tacos, Liang said she was inspired to share similar discounts with other students. She said she started pitching the idea and potential collaborations to many restaurants in Westwood, Sawtelle and Century City during the spring of 2023. As the idea was received by local businesses and students began using the discounts offered, she said she was able to show evidence of the large consumer base that Evyree’s services were catering to and grow the number of collaborations.

Kay said Evyree has decided to focus its services on both the deals and discounts through business collaborations and allowing students to post about the deals they hear about. He said he also hopes to foster a community though Evyree’s interactive user experience throughout Westwood.

(Eden Yu/Daily Bruin staff)
The Evyree interface is pictured. Launched in the summer, the app aims to help students save money and learn more about businesses in Los Angeles. (Eden Yu/Daily Bruin staff)

One of Evyree’s main focuses this year is marketing and outreach, said Evyree business developer and marketing strategist and third-year business economics student Jane Mukhametkhan. Through social media marketing campaigns, word of mouth advertising and flyering at UCLA’s Enormous Activities Fair, Mukhametkhan said Evyree has been able to grow its user conversion.

She said she wants to expand marketing and advertising operations through collaborations with other student organizations, more local businesses and email marketing. While Evyree has successfully partnered with a number of local businesses, Mukhametkan said she acknowledges the challenges of seeking collaborations. She said trial and error has pushed Evyree to further assess its prospective partnerships’ target consumers and the platform’s user base.

“Part of the process and part of the journey (is getting) a lot of rejections,” Muhkametkhan said. “So we move on and reach out to other businesses.”

Evyree has also been able to collaborate with larger businesses such as Madame Tussauds, Liang said, while still primarily focusing on local businesses. She said Evyree is experimenting with various monetization sources, including user commissions and a cashback system for merchants, as part of its partnership expansion. With the importance of maintaining these partnerships, fostering strong relationships with collaborating businesses and updating them on the app’s reach is one of Evyree’s priorities, Liang said.

“It’s really important to go back to these restaurants and maintain these relationships because they are giving students discounts,” Liang said. “They’ve all been really, really friendly, and we’ve made a lot of very close relationships with some of their workers.”

Kay said Evyree offers smaller local businesses a strategic partnership to expand their customer bases. Evyree’s focus on student and college towns is due to Evyree’s ability to understand the primary consumers of the business it collaborates with, Liang said, which increases success in business partnerships. Because of this, local businesses, students and Evyree experience a mutual benefit from these partnerships, Kay said.

[Related: Student-run app Poppin aims to make UCLA party scene safer, more reliable]

Attributing Evyree to her growth in entrepreneurship and marketing strategy, Liang said she hopes to expand Evyree’s staff size and help more students financially through Evyree’s broadening reach. After experiencing the successful reception from UCLA students and Westwood businesses, Liang added that she feels fulfilled by the belief that local businesses and students have in the app’s future. The app’s engagement at UCLA, Kay said, has opened the founders to the possibility of expanding Evyree to reach other student towns in the future.

“Personally, I spend a lot more (money) on food.” Kay said. “I spend 90% of my expenses on food. So, if I can help save a little bit on that, I believe it (Evyree) would have a huge impact on everyone.”

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Aditi Sreenivas
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