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Jindal School Collaborates with Kwest App for #JSOM40 Scavenger Hunt

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Kwest
The Kwest app features various interactive designs that display during different legs of the user's Kwest to guide them along on their digital scavenger hunt in a fun and inviting way

Students in the MS in Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at the Jindal School, Andrew Brown and Omeed Shams didn’t know what to expect when they enrolled in their first course. The first core class gives students a strong foundation on which to build their future. The course requires students to pitch their own startup ideas and work with others to create a viable business. It was then Andrew pitched the idea for an app that would gamify city tours and exploration, and Kwest was born. Omeed jumped onboard, quickly realizing the potential of Andrew’s brainchild.

Business Idea Competition 2014
MS Innovation and Entrepreneurship students Andrew Brown (left) and Omeed Shams (right), co-founders of the Kwest app, present their pitch in the 2014 UT Dallas Business Idea Competition

The pair landed in the finals of the 2014 UT Dallas Business Idea Competition in the same year. Despite not placing in the top three, Andrew and Omeed had a great competition experience that helped them develop a pitch and grow their business.

As the co-founder, Omeed cites UT Dallas as a major cause for the app’s success. He thanks Jeremy Vickers, executive director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship here at JSOM, as a mentor who encouraged and aided the two entrepreneurs early on. They received gifted funds from the University to help launch the Kwest app, which was brought successfully into the world in October of last year.

Omeed says the goal of Kwest is to “change the way we all explore the world.” This innovative app, “a blend between a game, a scavenger hunt and a guided tour,” experienced humble beginnings. During its test runs on campus, students had to refer to paper handouts of what the app would have looked like if it had been a reality.

Andrew and Omeed have seen promising growth in the four months the app has been available to the public. Omeed says the greatest challenge in adjusting to this success has been “being realistic” and expanding the Kwests available in DFW before moving on to other cities.

For residents of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, there’s good news. Not only is Kwest available at five locations in the Metroplex, where it incorporates local vendors and attractions into each adventure, but also Kwest is partnered with the Dallas Zoo and has interest from DART among others.

In addition, Kwestival, a Kwest-centric event in Klyde Warren Park, is coming April 23. The pop-up event will bring together Dallas’ own local businesses, artists and influencers to showcase the best our city has to offer. Kwests available in Dallas, as well as booths from vendors such as WFAA-TV, the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Dallas Zoo are just an example of all the Kwestival will showcase.

After the Kwestival, users will pay nominal fees for their Kwests, in exchange for discounts at vendors along the route of their adventure. This will be the first step in Kwest’s business expansion, with plans to move into other states by next year.

While there are other “city adventure” apps, co-creator Omeed highlights how none of them can compete with Kwest. The app features up to 20 interactions, beyond the question-and-answer style of their competitors, which allows users to experience the city on a deeper level, he says. And with lightning rounds, augmented reality, GPS compass and video screens, Kwest comes to life in the hands of users, Omeed adds.

The entrepreneurs are already looking at expansions to the platform, including competitions between Kwesters, and Kwest Plus, which will offer users a Kwest experience as well as a pre-paid dinner and night on the town. Andrew and Omeed say they are not resting on their laurels; the creative team works constantly to improve their product.

The Jindal School invests in students such as Andrew and Omeed because it sees the potential in helping future entrepreneurs. In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Naveen Jindal School of Management, the Kwest creators are giving back by creating a Kwest for the school and surrounding campus. The goal of this Kwest will be to help students explore the corners and history of JSOM in ways they didn’t know existed. Student participants will be given an inside look into the inner depths of the school to learn about its history, using Kwest’s augmented reality, lightning rounds and trivia questions.

The best part? Participants will be eligible to win fantastic prizes, like the new Amazon Echo and other techie items. Don’t miss the chance to win prizes and experience an exclusive Kwest, while celebrating the 40th anniversary of its birthplace on April 14. Stay tuned for more details on our website.

Kelsi Edwards

Kelsi Edwards is a freshman marketing student in the Jindal School of Management. She's passionate about writing, the digital world and people. As a member of DECA, the Davidson Management Honors Program and a social media student worker in the JSOM Web Services Department, she loves keeping herself busy. She enjoys spending the free time she has traveling, walking her dog and practicing photography. Read more articles

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