Download Tomorrow’s Top App—Today

PROVO, Utah – May 05, 2020 – As the use of smartphone apps have become second-nature in today’s world, the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology challenges BYU’s budding student developers to create the next top app by competing in its annual App Competition. The App Competition kickoff began on 31 October 2019 and ended on 2 March 2020, giving students four months to create a new, unique app. Despite tough competition from other teams, two students who created Stockmotion, an app that teaches users how to invest, walked away with the top prize and $3,200. 

“We left the competition feeling super excited to keep working on our app and make it even better,” says Bo Bleyl, a senior studying computer science from Richmond, Virginia, and one of the founders of Stockmotion. “We are hoping to turn our app into a business that can make a difference in financial literacy.” 

Bleyl and his teammate, Kaden Beckstead, a computer science senior from Parker, Colorado, came up with the idea after getting frustrated with what they felt were the poor habits other investing apps were teaching users. Together, they built an app that educated users on how to invest in a game-like form, making investing easy and accessible for any individual learning about the stock market.  

D-AI-SY, a dating app that utilizes machine learning to connect people in better matches, placed second in the competition. Jason Messer, the founder of the app, got the idea after taking a deep-learning artificial intelligence class at BYU. “I discovered that it was possible for artificial intelligence to learn individual’s preferences and tell you if you thought someone was appealing or not,” says Messer, a computer science senior from Castle Rock, Colorado. Messer and his team walked away with $2,600 in prize money. 

The team behind the app Recipe Pallete took home $2,000 for placing third in the competition. The app modifies recipes to work for different dietary needs. Peter Garrow, an information systems graduate student and Rochester, New York, native, came up with the idea for the app after frequently using the popular recipe website Allrecipes. He would spend hours scrolling through the comments to find the best modifications to the original recipe.  

Garrow and his team created an app that allows individuals to find the modifications they need without spending hours searching through comments. “Recipe Palette is about adding version control to the online recipe-sharing experience,” says Garrow. 

Teams prepared by building, developing, and promoting their apps during the four-month competition.  Additionally, teams created surveys and received feedback from users about their products, and learned what others wanted and liked about their ideas, which allowed them to reevaluate and adjust as needed.  

Each app submitted to the competition was judged based on quality in three areas: construction and utility, design, and analytics. Judges also looked for teams with solid business plans to turn their apps into future businesses.  

“The App Competition encourages students to go beyond classroom assignments and create apps that are interesting and helpful to people,” says Rollins Center academic director Steve Liddle. “I have seen students who competed in the App Competition go on to work at companies like Apple and have seen others build companies using the app they designed for the competition.” 

The App Competition provided an opportunity for BYU students to create a new app and was an experience they won’t forget. “Being a part of the App Competition was probably one of my personal highlights of my experience here at BYU,” say Messer.  

The BYU Marriott team who created the app Stockmotion.
Bo Bleyl (left) and Kaden Beckstead (right) win first place at the App Competition for their app Stockmotion. Photo courtesy of Bo Bleyl.
The BYU Marriott team who create the app D-AI-SY.
(Left to right) Sarah Kunzler, Levi Del Rio, Jason Messer, Robinson Paz, and Hunter Castillas win second place for their app D-AI-SY. Photo courtesy of Jason Messer.
The BYU Marriott team who created Recipe Palette.
(Left to right) Kyle Gill, Matthew Hamilton, Peter Garrow, and James Summers win third place for their app Recipe Palette. Photo courtesy of Peter Garrow.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Nikaela Smith