College student creates HitcHike app; how you can create your own app

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- An Arizona college student created a new app to help other students, but as User10 tells 3TV, it’s not that easy to do.

"An idea is not special, the way you execute it is," said Scottsdale-based User10 cofounder Mike Alonzo.
   
The company is the creator of the Storybyte and GiFmojo apps.

" ’Apps’ is kind of the hot buzzword right now," Alonzo said. "Everyone wants an app even if they don't need one."

Alonzo said the most challenging part isn't so much creating the app.

"If you do it yourself, it can be very complex and time consuming. If you are paying someone to do it, it can get very expensive very quickly," he said. "It could be as cheap as five-thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars."

But he said it's making your app stand out that can be the most difficult.

"There's just so many going in at such a rapid pace,” said Alonzo. “It's just so hard to really differentiate yourself."

Nick Vale is trying to do just that with his app, HitcHike.

"Hey, why not make some sort of app where people can go on and post and create rides and share together and just pitch in gas money?" Vale said.

The University of Arizona freshman hired a freelance programmer and said they are almost done creating the app. He said they've been working on it for about a month.

"Currently, we are probably about 60 to 70 percent completed,” Vale said.

Alonzo said the best thing to do to create interest is to start early and make sure you generate enough buzz even before you launch your app.

Alonzo said his company does that with early marketing.

"Previously, we had a big signup field, like if this was something that you're excited about then get on board," Alonzo said.

Vale said his target is college students.

"You'll need a 'dot edu' email to actually register an account, so it will be specific to students only,” Vale said.

He's already created a website to have them sign up before his November launch, and he said he's spreading the word not only at his U of A campus but many major universities across the country.

"Nothing has risen to the top yet, so he's in a really good spot to make a splash," Alonzo said about Vale’s HitcHike app.