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U-M students create new mobile startup, Tag Contacts

What do you do when you want to launch a new economy startup? Find a new economy pain in the butt and begin working on a solution. It also helps if you can have a tech titan give you a shout out to get things started.

That's what's going on with Tag Contacts. The startup is the brainchild of two University of Michigan undergrads who want to build a better contacts apps for smartphones. The startup also managed to get a bump in interest when Twitter CEO Dick Costolo took notice of Tag Contacts and told the world.

"We're trying to go back to basics," says Chris O'Neil, co-founder of Tag Contacts. "Tag is for play tag on the playground. We’re trying to make it as simple as possible."

O'Neil, who is also president of MPowered, and Billy Irwin are juniors at U-M studying computer science. They became frustrated with a million and one annoyances with traditional contact lists on their smartphones, so they started reinventing the technology. That meant launching Tag Contacts, which is now composed of a team of five people, last October.

Tag Contacts technology, which is in private Beta, aims to make using the contacts list on a smartphone simpler and more intuitive. For instance, it allows users to sort contacts by which ones were recently entered. It also differentiates between contacts found on social media and in real life.

"The people you call and text aren’t necessarily the people you interact with on social media," O'Neil says. "We want to get you through to the people you want to call."

Tag Contacts caught Costolo's eye last week. The Twitter CEO, also a U-M alum, began following Tag Contacts and tweeted the startup, which brought about a world of attention. The startup is now pulling allnighters to get its technology into Apple's App Store by March.

Source: Chris O'Neil, co-founder of Tag Contacts
Writer: Jon Zemke
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Related Company

  • Tag Contacts
    Ann Arbor, MI 48104 Website
    Tag Contacts is a software startup that is developing a better contact list for smartphones. It is based in Ann Arbor.

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