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TextPride offers access to licensed images

Tori Roeck | Friday, September 21, 2012

Two Notre Dame graduates have created a way for college students to show school spirit through text messages. The TextPride app, available for limited release this weekend,allows users to put licensed school images in text messages to liven up anything from gameday updates to smack talk.

2012 graduate Evan Wray said users can choose from a variety of pictures to use in their text messages, and every purchase of the app supports your school.

“For Notre Dame, for example, we have two different packages with 25 images in each,” Wray said. “These are all licensed Notre Dame images. They’re the images you’ll see in the programs, on T-shirts, the identical leprechaun and everything. They’re a really cool way for Notre Dame students, fans and alumni to show their spirit in an extra way.”

Wray said he and business partner Sean O’Brien developed the idea for TextPride during their senior year after looking into emoticons.

“The more we started thinking about it, we asked ‘What does everyone at Notre Dame love?’ And they love Notre Dame football and sports teams, and that’s the same with many other Division I schools,” Wray said. “So we thought why not try to incorporate University-specific emoticons into text messages?”

While the initial version only works for text messages, the next version of the app will work for email and social media as well, Wray said.

Wray said originally they wanted to pursue the app as a side project but recognized its potential as a start-up.

“I was a walk-on on the football team so I know how crazy fans are … but that’s where we thought there would be a market, at least at Notre Dame,” he said. “When Sean and I sat down and talked about it, we realized this could be bigger than Notre Dame and even bigger than the college universe.”

O’Brien said 32 schools have signed on to allow TextPride to use their images, and 10 more are in the works.

Much of the app’s initial success can be credited to funding and advice from the Notre Dame network, Wray said.

“It’s unbelievable how helpful people have been,” Wray said. “We have an entire team of mentors, investors and people giving us guidance who have been through this process before, and they’re all connected to the Notre Dame network … Just because we’re all connected to Notre Dame, everyone is so willing to help.”

O’Brien said the first investment came from Patrick Salvi, a Notre Dame alumnus and professor at the Notre Dame Law School.

Because of the influence Notre Dame has had on their business, O’Brien said it is only fitting to launch the app for limited release at the football game against the University of Michigan on Saturday. Promotion events to familiarize people with the app include giveaways at the Eddy Street concert Friday night and a tailgate before the game Saturday, he said. The full release of the app will take place in a few weeks.

“We have a special promotion on Friday at the Eddy Street concert with giveaways for anyone who comes by. … We’ll explain how to use [the app] and how to get it,” O’Brien said. “Saturday you’ll be able to see our team members walking around with TextPride gear on, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions.”

The TextPride app is available to download from the Apple App Store as well as from www.textpride.com.

Contact Tori Roeck at
[email protected]