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Seton Hall students find their app has stickiness

Notefuly, honored as cool college startup, has 4M downloads

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Taseen Peterson, the CEO of TapFactory, helped create an app that's a digital version of a sticky note.
Taseen Peterson, the CEO of TapFactory, helped create an app that's a digital version of a sticky note. - (PHOTO BY AARON HOUSTON)

Taseen Peterson wants you to remember that your big presentation is due on the 17th, that your sister's birthday is coming up next week and that you shouldn't forget to call that pain-in-the-butt client before you leave work.

So Peterson, a 28-year-old Seton Hall student and CEO of the Newark-based startup TapFactory, is offering an iPhone application called Notefuly that melds the familiar with the new — digitizing the ubiquitous yellow sticky note in a slick app that allows users to customize personal reminders on electronic devices.

Notefuly, which has had a blockbuster 4 million downloads from the Apple App Store since 2009, is the main offering from the TapFactory, which was named to this year's "Coolest College Startups'' list from Inc. magazine.

The three-man company — comprised of Peterson, his brother, Mark, 30, and Cameron Smith, 30 — also scored a big win at the music and technology festival South By Southwest earlier this month, taking home the top prize in the Student Startup Madness competition, a March Madness-esque company pitch-off with win-or-go-home elimination rounds.

"I think we won because we put a lot of hours into our presentation, and we worked really hard at perfecting it,'' Peterson said.

"We definitely had an application that commanded attention.''

Notefuly is a cloud-based application, allowing users to store, share and collaborate on bite-sized nuggets of information across mobile devices. It costs just 99 cents from the App Store, but it has generated $450,000 in sales since its launch in 2009.

It currently averages around 60,000 downloads a month and plans are in the works to make the app compatible for use with Android-based devices by summer, Peterson said.

Peterson credits the success of Notefuly to its slick interface with plenty of customization options. That separates the app from more strictly utilitarian productivity applications.

"We wanted to create an app that was simple and had wide appeal,'' Peterson said. "What was more simple and had wider appeal than sticky notes?"

Timing also played a role. In 2009, the App Store was still new, and the then-untapped potential of the app development industry was not yet understood, Peterson said.

But when Sticky Notes (a working title of the original app that became Notefuly) had 20,000 downloads in the first two months, Peterson said the trio knew they were onto something big.

"It's fun and easy to use," Peterson said. "It's got a really slick interface and just the right amount of features — just enough for users to be as creative as they want to be.''

Although the application has a wide target market, Peterson said he sees schools that are increasingly using electronic devices in the classroom as good potential partners for Notefuly in the future.

"Our product is simple enough for a 5-year-old to use,'' Peterson said. "I think there's a big opportunity to partner with high schools and grammar schools.''

Keith Brown is a freelance writer based in Neptune.

The biz in brief

Company: TapFactory
Founded:
2008
Headquarters:
Newark
Employees:
3
Product:
Notefuly
Sales:
$450,000
Downloads:
4 million

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