To get in the spirit of bringing awareness to poverty, A Plus had the pleasure of catching up with L + R co-founder, Alex Levin, to talk about their game changing app, which 10,000 people have already downloaded.
Tell us a little about L + R. How did you guys get started? What other apps have you created in the past?
We're a team of 5 and the company is just over 3 years old. We are currently based in Dumbo, Brooklyn. It was founded by myself and Ryan Riegner when we were freshman roommates at Parsons School of Design.
We got started while I was living in Boston and began a project for branding and digital prototyping for an ad technology platform that was using image recognition for photo marketing campaigns for brands.
Our current client list includes Unilever, AT&T, Converse, Google, and exciting startups across the world. We focus on creative technologies creating top quality experiences for users. This starts with deep understanding in branding, technologies and design.
Our process is based off strategy, aesthetics, rapid prototyping and refinement towards perfection.
How did you link up with Global Citizen Music Festival? Why is this something you wanted to take on?
We had met Global Poverty Project (the creator of Global Citizen and producer of the Global Citizen Festival) through a good friend of mine, Sophia Sunwoo, the Chief Executive Officer of Water Collective. They are a non-profit that secures life-lasting clean water for rural communities in Africa and India.
From there we were connected to Jay Gunning, the GPP's awesomely talented Marketing Director. The moment the idea for a mobile experience was discussed, we jumped on it. We knew that we had an incredible opportunity to lay the groundwork for a mobile experience that would continue to grow and develop.
Their goal of ending extreme poverty is extremely ambitious, and we are honored to contribute to raising awareness and making change happen.
How has the app launch gone so far? Will the celebrities be involved as well?
The first versions of the 2015 Global Citizen Festival apps were launched a few weeks ago and have around 10,000 downloads so far. Actions will be announced on stage and a notification will be sent to all attendees to simply launch their apps and take action!
In between all of the scheduled performances, the event will feature world leaders and activists including Mark Zuckerberg, Sir Richard Branson, Bono, the Prime Minister of Sweden, the Prime Minister of Norway, Bill and Melinda Gates…and BIG BIRD (yes!) and many more. A lot of those speakers and performers will be calling attendee's to download the app, if they haven't already, and take action together.
Also, audience members will be asked from their cultural and political leaders, to take actions via the app. This, combined with the incentives of rewards that relate directly to improving the attendee's current experience (such as VIP tickets), makes the whole experience an incredible phenomenon for large scale events.
How are people going to be able to use the app?
Once attendees have an app on their phone, it immediately lowers the friction of a request for a digital action. Basically, the app we've created with Global Citizen does everything for the user.
They simply have to open the app and it will link up all their social networks and email. From there, they can start taking actions immediately.
That's really powerful and to my knowledge, there has never been anything at an event this size that has ever happened. We've included what most other events have, ie: camera, map, live stream, etc. but the pertinence of this app and the action delivery system that we've developed will run live throughout the event.
It will be continuously engaging the attendees and improve their experience while at the festival.
How do you think this app will lead to positive change in the world?
The app will be facilitating tens of thousands of requests and broadcasting messages of causes, education and hope to people around the world in a swell. It is a huge innovation for rallies to have an event with an app that can do this.
The ability to reach audiences and bring people together around common social goals at such scale is huge. Global Citizen is by far the most exciting movement in our lifetime. Their fight to end extreme poverty and inequality around the world incapsulates so many of the issues that people are so passionate about around the world to make life more sustainable for people and the planet.
The app is just one other channel that they can now use to engage those who can help to spread the word and call for change in organizations and politics.
What's next for the app and L + R after the festival? How will you keep the momentum going?
We hope to further iterate the mobile application to include location-specific, even hyper-local functionality, an Apple Watch app, targeted campaigns and rewards that Global Citizens can interact with on a daily basis around the year.
Maybe some connected devices and integrated web experiences too.
L+R is focused on rapid prototyping, testing and finding creative ways to use technology to improve user's experience, add value, and make an even bigger impact for the next version.