Swoop Srch

I joined Swoop Srch while attending the University of Wisconsin - Madison. A friend who was already working there showed me the concept for a new search UI and I was immediately hooked. The first app was an apartment search app, and I had just had a frustrating apartment hunt. The UI concept was new and interesting, with the ability to rank each search term for importantce. There was a series of dots representing each search term placed on a circle. The user could drag each dot closer to the center to signal that term was more important. For example, to search for a "2 bed, 2 bath, for $1200" would create 3 dots, and you could rank the number of bedrooms as the most important more easily.

Over the first weekend, I rebuilt their web app from a statically rendered PHP app to a dynamic app in Javascript with Django on the backend. Over the next 9 months, we built up new features to improve apartment searching. We also built a spidering system based on Scrapy to gather data from apartment sites. We wound up with the most comprehensive apartment listing in Madison, WI and several other cities in the region.

This was my first foray into startups and I quickly learned a lot. Most importantly, I learned how to ship a product quickly to start gathering user feedback, so we could iterate more quickly.