At a time when getting an opinion from numerous people takes just a few seconds, an entrepreneur from Newark, NJ wants to make the response time even faster. Jhamar Youngblood created an app, Blastchat, that will give users the chance to better filter the content they want to see and react to. One day when he felt indecisive about what to wear when getting ready for an interview with a reporter, he placed a poll on his app to narrow his choices down to wearing a red hat with a white letter B or no hat at all. Instantly he got a response from 10 people that received his push notification alert and most people voted for him to wear the hat.
Youngblood explained that his ability to get an instant reaction to his question is what makes his app revolutionary. He didn’t have to create a group text or wait for his friends or followers on other social media platforms to filter through a bunch of other content to see his post, he reached his intended audience quick and direct.
He explained, “We’re living in an information age so there’s so much content out there. This app filters all of this content that’s out there in the world.”
At just 29, Youngblood is an entrepreneur who received his undergraduate degree from Monmouth University and completed his master’s at Dartmouth University. He started his first business while working on his undergrad degree but that business didn’t come to fruition. He then took an internship position at a tech company in Boston but decided not to stay due to their lack of diversity.
After seeing that his hometown of Newark was turning into a tech hub, he decided to return to his birthplace. Youngblood entered a contest sponsored by the city of Newark, which focused on women’s safety. He won a $50,000 prize for adding onto his existing app a feature called Blastchat Safety. The new feature allows women to send an instant alert to their friends or strangers in the area if they feel they’re in a dangerous situation. The app will notify people on their “blast” list of their location.
Seth Wainer who serves as the city of Newark’s chief information officer, said a panel of judges selected Youngblood’s app from a group of seven finalists who entered the contest to come up with a unique way to help keep women safer. Youngblood will receive an initial $15,000 by June 2017 to expand the reach of his app and then an additional $35,000 by the end of the year to maintain the growth of the business.
Youngblood said Blastchat Safety resonates with him because “My mother was a victim of physical abuse and if she had a product like this, just these alerts so I know she’s in danger, maybe things could have ended differently. You have the ability to create your own family network, create a custom list of people that you want to send an alert to.”
Blastchat already has over 5,000 users, including NBA player, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The app allows users to send a public or private “blast” and select the kinds of “blasts” they want to receive in return, whether its from friends, city government, or companies. Youngblood said, “Platforms that can filter the content for people, those are the platforms that are going to be really effective. There’s no algorithms, it’s you saying, ‘I want this content as soon as it’s available.’“