Need emotional support? Two talented Pinays made an app for that

Jovan Cerda (The Philippine Star) - February 28, 2015 - 3:01pm

CEBU CITY, Philippines - The Internet is a wellspring of trolls and people who hide under the comfort of anonymity to spread negativity and online vitriol. For friends Marga Adan and Mai Demetria, that shouldn't be the case.

"Social media can be cruel," said Demetria, complaining about how easy it is for hateful content to spread online. "We want to create an environment where people who post that way will not be welcomed."

Together with Adan, the two created Sympies, a social messaging app where users can post about their emotions and hardships without fear of judgment and ridicule from others.

Adan and Demetria, both psychology graduates from the Ateneo de Manila University, had no background in app development, but both were sure they needed to work on something that will sprinkle a dash of positivity to people who need emotional support.

The idea behind Sympies came when the two were hanging out at a coffee shop with their friends. They noticed that most of them were occupied with their phones, and thought they could do something meaningful about it.

 

"We started with a vision and determination that we wanted to do it. We wanted to get it done," Demetria said. The two set up a plan.

"We pooled from our experiences. Like how to you do it without knowing. You pool from your existing know-how," Adan said. They did a lot of online search, contacted a number of developers and sought mentors and investors who bought their pitch.

"There are other questions to ask. Is there a purpose to your app? Is there a need? Does it make sense? Is it something that exists?" Demetria said.

The two attended the IDEA Global Entrepreneurship Symposium and Workshop last year, organized by the Philippine Science and Technology Development Foundation Manila, Inc. and the United States Agency for International Aid. Through the workshop, they learned about the things required to be successful technopreneurs, and they sought the help of Silicon Valley entrepreneur Diosdado Banatao, who eventually became their mentor.

Adan and Demetria said they went through a number of rejections before they found the right people who were interested in their app. The two said they contacted about 15 developers before they found one that agreed to work on creating Sympies.

"When you have an idea, those who will interact with you also have the same mindset," Adan said. 

Almost two years after their idea, the two are now ready to launch Sympies on both iOS and Android by mid-March this year, and they hope young people who are always game to discover something new give Sympies a try.

They might not have been well-versed in mobile technology and app development, but the tandem's desire to create something positive paid off despite a number of challenges.

"The issue of limitations is one that one puts upon himself. If you tackle the issues, everything can be done," Demetria said. 

ADAN ADAN AND DEMETRIA DEMETRIA DIOSDADO BANATAO GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP SYMPOSIUM AND WORKSHOP INTERNATIONAL AID MANILA UNIVERSITY MARGA ADAN AND MAI DEMETRIA PHILIPPINE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION MANILA SYMPIES
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