Kiley wants everyone to have a good time while they’re out. But for women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community, even a night out at a local bar can present obstacles. That’s why this aspiring screenwriter founded her app, Outro. Although she never considered herself a techie, Kiley is now building Outro to make the world a safer place for marginalized people. She relies on her core community of friends, including her co-founder, to keep herself inspired and grounded. We can’t wait to see what she does next.
You founded Outro last year. What were some of the decisions that went into creating this company?
Outro began at a dorm room table. It was a week after my second friend that month was drugged when we were out at a bar in New York. I told my best friend (and now co-founder) Sarah that I wanted there to be a way to make sure our friends could find bars that were fun and safe. We started brainstorming at meals and on runs and as a way to procrastinate doing our homework. For the months that Sarah and I were working on it before ever having a name for this or before ever thinking about talking about it with anyone else, we knew what we wanted it to be; we wanted to create a rating system that actually mattered. A rating system that doesn’t see people as all the same, because we aren’t. A rating system that believes that being different is good, and so should the place you go to choose to express yourself.
What do you hope people gain from using Outro?
I hope Outro helps our users feel empowered when they go out! Outro starts a conversation about why we go to the spaces we go. Outro makes us question what is normal at bars and clubs. Should we really be rating things based on how fast service is and not how inclusive the space is? Outro introduces language like “POC” and “LGBTQ+ friendly” in a context about bars and clubs that many people may have never thought about before. Outro is not just for safety and fun, it’s for empowerment. It is a tool and a resource for real people like me, my co-founders Sarah and Josh, and my friends to feel empowered.
I also hope people are able to have more fun thanks to Outro. It’s a whole lot easier to have a great night when you don't have to worry about creepy people in dark bars! We’re creating a community of people who prioritize having fun but also look out for each other. We created a Buzzword tool to help make sure everyone can have fun by searching for places that have drink specials, swimming pools, diverse crowds, etc. We just want our users to have all the tools they need to have the best night possible.
How has Outro impacted your professional goals?
I don’t even know where to begin. I still have some of the same professional goals that I had before starting Outro, like one day publishing a book or selling a screenplay. I also want to start a nationwide ambassador program for Outro, and am counting down the days until we launch the full version of our app on the app store! As someone who started college as a screen studies major, the idea of starting a tech company seemed as ridiculous as climbing a mountain. But I was passionate and I followed that. I learned I had to take it step by step if I wanted to conquer this mountain. I realized I could figure out how to make a map. I could assemble a group of climbers. I could put in the extra work. Now, I know how to scale mountains. If anything, all this has done has made me want to climb higher.
What are some of your post-graduation goals? And where do you hope to be, professionally, in 5 years?
Post-graduation, I hope that the numerical Outro rating can be found within interfaces like Google and Yelp and that bars even have their Outro scores on the door. In five years, Outro will be launched city-by-city nationwide, and our ambassador program will have bars and clubs rated all across campuses and cities. I can’t wait to launch our full line of merchandise and to see people using Outro on subways or at bars. I honestly think that with a little girl power, we’re unstoppable.
Do you have any advice for college students who want to found their own start-up organization?
Talk about your idea! If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, this won’t be hard. Find connections wherever you can. The first step that was critical to me was just talking to friends and roommates. There were nights when I would wake up at 2 a.m. with an idea and wake up whoever would listen just to tell them what was going through my head. Look at your project’s big picture and then break it down piece by piece to figure out exactly where to begin. Do you need a team? Funding? Can you use your school’s resources? Identify what you will need to get your start-up organization off its feet. From there, reach out to whoever will listen or any connection who you admire. Send emails. Make phone calls. Set up meetings. Talk to your professors. Remember that you should listen to advice, criticism and opinions, but make sure you stay true to your goal.
How do you keep yourself motivated in your professional and academic endeavors?
To stay motivated, and so I don’t lose my mind, I set attainable goals that have nothing to do with my professional or academic careers. I’m currently training for my second half marathon with my co-founder Sarah, and I’m hoping to get yoga teacher certified this winter! Giving myself little breaks and passing finish lines (literally and figuratively) that have nothing to do with Outro or school help me stay focussed when it is time to get to work.
I also find motivation through the people I surround myself with. My apartment is a revolving door of creative roommates. We spend our nights bouncing ideas off of each other in between bites of dinner and conversations about all of our big goals, projects, and of course, current crushes. Having such motivated friends and family has inspired me to put the work in, even when all I want to do is take a long nap. They also make me laugh harder than anyone on earth, which, no matter how stressful things get, makes it all doable.
Chelsea is the Health Editor and How She Got There Editor for Her Campus. In addition to editing articles about mental health, women's health and physical health, Chelsea contributes to Her Campus as a Feature Writer, Beauty Writer, Entertainment Writer and News Writer. Some of her unofficial, albeit self-imposed, responsibilities include arguing about the Oxford comma, fangirling about other writers' articles, and pitching Her Campus's editors shamelessly nerdy content (at ambiguously late/early hours, nonetheless). When she isn't writing for Her Campus, she is probably drawing insects, painting with wine or sobbing through "Crimson Peak." Please email any hate, praise, tips, or inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org