What is it?
FreeHour is a mobile application that solves one of students’ biggest problems on campus; finding free time to meet up. With its shared timetable functionality, college and Uni students are able to input their timetable, share it with friends and find out which free slots they share together in order to grab a bite or study together. FreeHour also has other complimenting student features such as a countdown to the next stipend, an exam countdown, lecture reminders as well as weekly student offers - making it the go-to app for students in Malta.
Who’s behind it?
FreeHour was founded by 19-year-old student Zach Ciappara, who later partnered with Lovin’ Malta on the back of getting funding from MITA Innovation Hub. Zach Ciappara is the company’s CEO and is the brain behind improving the app, building the brand and expanding the company. After less than one year in operation, FreeHour has grown to over 16,500 local downloads and has been used over 1 million times by local students. Most of FreeHour’s success has come in the last five months, after the company launched a new version of the app at “Freshers’ week 2017”, where the app blew up in just a few weeks.
FreeHour, the go-to App for students
How is it funded?
FreeHour was originally funded using a friends and family-type of crowdfunding, whereby Zach pitched his idea to several friends and family members, asking for a small contribution that will be re-paid further down the line. Using this method, FreeHour was able to raise enough money to kick-start development and launch a basic version of the app to launch in March 2017. This launch was a soft launch that was used to test the idea in the market and to see if there was a need for such an app. After a positive soft launch, FreeHour applied and pitched for MITA Innovation Hub’s YouStartIt2 fund, which was a cash grant of €15,000 and €7,000 in services. This allowed the app to develop different student features which were introduced in FreeHour’s October 2017 hard launch.
FreeHour continuously aims to improve its product by listening to its users. In this way, the company want to identify and introduce new features that students desire. FreeHour aims to continue dominating the local market in the coming years, however, expansion into countries similar to the Maltese market is also on the agenda.
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