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11 July 2013

Senior launches app

UM senior Tyler McIntyre has been an entrepreneur from a young age. Now he is using his experience in his latest venture – phone apps.

With a friendly, laid-back disposition, McIntyre lives for his work. He wears a T-shirt promoting his newly launched app, Postkard, which allows users to send a physical postcard right from their iPhone anywhere in the world for 99 cents.

“I love the ability to create something that creates a larger impact on the world,” McIntyre said.

In 2006, the summer before high school, McIntyre’s bug for business emerged. After reading a prediction on the future success of VoIP, voice over internet protocol, which sends phone signals through the internet, he began researching.

“I didn’t know how to write code or make a website, so I just decided I’d learn or find people who could help,” McIntyre said.

With a loan from his grandfather, McIntyre started his own VoIP phone company and outsourced everything he could, including support and billing. Soon his company, Vigor Tel, was competing with Vonage and other firms. He said he had users from all over the world. He sold the company in 2009.

In 2010, he developed his first app, Lucid Messenger, a cross-messaging platform, in his Stanford Residential College dorm room. Lucid let smartphone owners text within a medium similar to a BlackBerry Messenger. The app was named one of “America’s Coolest College Start-Ups” in 2011 by Inc. Magazine.

McIntyre entered Lucid in the Launch Pad’s Elevator Pitch Contest and won the grand prize in the student category – along with about $40,000 worth of prizes and services.

He decided to move on when the market became crowded, with pressure coming from the popular WhatsApp, and rumors of more competition brewing from industry giants such as Apple and Google.

Until developing Postkard, McIntyre spent his time developing and investing in companies like Mine2Share, Quantum, a credit card processing app, and as a co-founder and chief technical officer for MonaBar, a cash-back reward company for online shopping.