After she won Runner Up honors at the Blackstone LaunchPad 2021 Ideas Competition in the Consumer Products and Services category with her trip planner app that takes into account personal preferences and weather, Marwh Alzandani, a CSI senior studying Business with a concentration in Marketing, is still hard at work, improving and updating her original idea.
Recalling how she came upon the idea for the app, which is called Easy Meets, Alzandani explained. “When I travel, I enjoy exploring local activities and restaurants, but I also aim to make the most of my time and budget. Most great local places can be found on social media, but searching for saved posts, checking locations, and creating a seamless trip can be time-consuming. Additionally, I have to consider the interests of my travel companions, making it challenging to plan for a group.”
The proposed version of the app that she entered in the Blackstone Launchpad competition was supposed to create an automated travel plan by accessing saved social media posts and then formulate a back-up plan in case the weather wasn’t cooperative.
Her recognition at Blackstone Launchpad only accelerated her drive to develop the app.
“Blackstone played a significant role in the development of the app,” she said. “The support from mentors, especially [CSI Macaulay alumna] Natalia Sandor, greatly encouraged me to keep building it. As a first-generation founder, the process can be a bit confusing, and it takes me more time than others due to the amount of research and videos I consume to ensure I’m on the right track. Through Blackstone, I had the opportunity to meet wonderful people whom I still stay in touch with today, and it’s wonderful to be part of a supportive and thriving community.”
Almost four years since the app’s initial ideas stage, Easy Meets has been greatly improved. Alzandani noted that it can now serve both individuals or groups, locally or internationally. During conversations with potential customers, she came to the conclusion that young adults often have difficulties planning trips due to a number of factors like cost, interests, and location. “The common theme in these interviews,“ Alzandani explained, “is the mental effort and time-consuming research required, which can lead to canceled plans or visits to the same places. Easy Meets aims to simplify the process of creating unique outing plans that cater to everyone’s preferences. Easy Meets operates as an app for exploring, quick planning with multiple participants, and creates plans to stay in the same area to maximize the time.”
Looking back, Alzandani credits CSI for getting her to where she is today, noting that “CSI has provided me with substantial support by connecting me to various departments and professors who have played an instrumental role in my participation in entrepreneurship programs. During my time at CSI, I had the privilege of meeting Adam Kodstandy, a Computer Science student whose significant contributions have been a key driver in our progress with Easy Meets. Adam
has also enlisted the help of other Computer Science students, including Conor Farrell, Alaaeldean Omar, and Unaiza Nizami.”
She also recalled that CUNYStartups was instrumental in connecting her with the app’s co-founders, Basmalla Attia and Marin Azhar, with whom she continues to work to develop Easy Meets. She added that “we are thoroughly enjoying our journey of exploration in the dynamic world of startups.”
When asked about her future plans, Alzandani stated that she is “interested in staying in the field of innovation and startups. I truly enjoy tackling complex problems and discovering tech solutions. My hope is that, upon graduation, we’ll have Easy Meets fully operational and expanding internationally.”