A Name We All Know Is Behind Unique College Dating App

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Nice Move

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A weekly TFM feature dedicated to the creepy pickup lines that make their way onto Tinder is all you need to know about the majority of the app’s clientele. It’s a user matching app for hooking up and trying to out-perv one another. Entertaining, sure, but no one’s going there to actually find a significant other.

The new college connection app Thread has been launched exclusively on the campus of the University of Texas, for now. It’s an app for worthwhile, classy, relevant students to match with other like-minded students. It’s safe, it’s not scummy, it allows users to screen potential matches, and its requirement to log in using a .edu email address makes it an exclusive, campus-only environment–the only one of its kind.

From iTunes:

Thread shows you 10 people per day from your campus and lets you anonymously decide who you’d like to meet. If they like you back, we’ll connect you. Check out a prospect’s interests and favorite activities to see how you match up. We verify that every member is a student at your school, so you know you’re viewing real, relevant prospects. Now go connect, and remember to stay classy!

The idea for this app comes from a mind that clearly didn’t fall too far from the entrepreneurial tree. Zachary Dell is a senior at Austin’s St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, and he’s the founder of Thread. Yes, that Dell. Zachary is the 18-year-old son of Dell Inc. founder and CEO Michael Dell.

Thread isn’t Dell’s first venture, either. It may sound crazy referring to a high school senior as a seasoned businessman, but that’s what he is. In the eighth grade he and his cousins started Camp SPARK, a summer camp that began in Dallas and has since expanded to cities all over the country, including Austin, San Francisco, Boston, Boulder, and Houston. The camp was started during the school year, and by summer he was making more than his teachers.

He’s now taking on the tech industry. So, exactly how hard is it to get an app off the ground when a billionaire with a checkbook sleeps under the same roof as you, right? This is where the younger Dell’s story gets interesting. He raised over $600,000 during his first round of fundraising to get Thread started, getting some of the country’s top investors onboard, namely “super angel” investor Ron Conway. His father, amazingly, is not one of his investors. Believe it. Not a dime of capital he’s raised came from his old man. He admits to accepting his father’s guidance on occasion, and the entrepreneurial parallels are too apparent to ignore, but this is his baby. He’s doing it on his own.

“I heard ‘no’ a lot,” Dell explained about the fundraising process. “Early on, it was tough to convince investors to roll the dice on an 18-year-old kid, but after a while, word started to spread that I was the real deal, and some of the top investors in the industry were willing to hop onboard.”

Zachary has another trick up his sleeve, too, and it comes in the form of Thread’s new Marketing Advisor. Whitney Wolfe is the acclaimed former Co-founder and VP of Marketing for Tinder, but now, after leaving the company amidst a sexual harassment suit, she has joined Thread’s advisory board. This move is like taking Magic from the Lakers, putting a Celtics jersey on him, and walking him onto the court against the Lakers in the first game of the year. In a word: huge.

Dell recently hosted a launch party at UT’s Fiji house. Partygoers had to have the app downloaded to gain entrance. It looked like a hell of a time.

Best party ever hosted by a high schooler? It’s possible.

A similar party could be coming to your school next, but more importantly, so could Thread. The college campus on which Thread will launch next will be the one whose students jump out in the lead with the most app downloads, so if you want to throw down, and if you want Thread on your campus, all you have to do is download it, and tell your friends to do the same.

That college will be rewarded with a banger like you see above, and also with the best, new dating app available to college students.

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Zachary recognizes the leg up he has on other aspiring entrepreneurs. In his words, “I’m lucky enough to share a dinner table with Michael Dell. Others don’t get that advantage.” Because of this, he willingly shares advice and mentors other young entrepreneurs.

If you’d like to reach out to him, you can find him on Twitter (@DellZach), or by email: zach@threaddating.com.


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