CultureCloud App Helps People Connect at Conferences and While Traveling

Developed by IEEE Young Professionals members, it matches users based on location and shared interests

10 August 2018

Technology has changed the tourism industry, introducing travelers to what were previously unknown destinations and making the world more accessible.

Two IEEE members were traveling around the globe in 2016 while volunteering for the organization, making lifelong friends along the way. But meeting other volunteers and making new friends, and staying connected afterward, proved to be more difficult than they expected. That’s why Jeff Eker and Charlie Grab, members of the IEEE Young Professionals Philadelphia affinity group, created a mobile app that connects travelers based on destination, language, and shared interests. Locals also can use the app to help visitors discover nearby places by recommending restaurants and museums, for example.

The founders, both graduates of Rowan University, in Glassboro, N.J., cofounded CultureCloud, now known as Tediferous. I came on as product lead and growth hacker this year, working remotely from Karachi, Pakistan. I met Jeff at an IEEE Region 10 conference in Sri Lanka, and I believed in his idea. My role is to develop the customized communities. Another member from Pakistan, Amaad Soomro, joined our team as a UI/UX designer. We work full time to develop the CultureCloud app and grow the community.

CultureCloud, which is available from the App Store and Google Play, launched at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Since the launch, the team added another feature for conference organizers to connect people at their events and build custom communities. Young professionals can use it to find one another at large tech events.

IEEE has some 1,800 conferences and events each year, and the app can be an invaluable tool that helps members stay in contact with one another and reconnect at future events or when they’re in the same city.

As young professionals, we know how important networking is for our careers. Conference attendees who work in our field could help us get an interview with their company, but without technology, how would we be able to identify the right people to talk to?

CultureCloud’s platform is designed to help users make connections in person, not just through the app. And it’s those human interactions that really add value to your experience at a conference or while traveling.

CultureCloud is an IEEE startup success story. We were inspired by the values of the organization, and our team works tirelessly to improve the platform and provide value to IEEE and its members.

Member Sarang Shaikh is the growth hacker and product manager for CultureCloud. He is pursuing an MBA in entrepreneurship and innovation at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, in Pakistan, and is helping universities in the country develop innovation and entrepreneurship centers. He is also the global chair for IEEEmadC—a mobile app development competition.

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