St.Louis Startup: BonFyre Brings Social Network Back To Campus, Attracts Square Co-Founder Jim McKelvey

Last month we brought you the story of LockerDome a social network for amateur athletes based in St.Louis. LockerDome was able to attract some key investors and advisors. One of those is St.Louis native Jim McKelvey who just happens to be the co-founder of the widely popular mobile payment startup, Square. McKelvey co-founded Square with Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.

Another social networking startup has also received backing and advice from McKelvey. McKelvey sits on the board of Off Campus Media LLC, the paurent company to the BonFyre app.

BonFyre was founded by Mark Sawyier, a graduate of Washington University. The app is a social media and location sharing app aimed at college students looking to plan what’s next with friends, find out what’s hot and save money around campus.

One of the main concepts behind Bonfyre is to take the social network back to students. We all remember the days when Facebook was exclusive to students with a college email address. While everyone wanted to join this exclusive club (and we all eventually did), the exclusive college nature of Facebook at the time, made it more about sharing social events with friends and then getting out and doing stuff together.

More after the break

When Facebook opened up to the general public, something else happened to those college students as well. All those late night beer pong games, or a night out on the club, which was cool to share with your frat brothers and fellow co-eds, was now accessible to everyone. Sure when Facebook opened up the floodgates you could have gone and deleted everything but who wants to do that.

Bonfyre brings to light the fact that Harris Interactive surveyed 2,667 managers and human resource professionals and found that 45% of those surveyed use social networks to screen applicants. Of those 45% a whopping 35% of those used social media to disqualify an applicant. See what we mean about those late nights with the beer bong (or maybe even the real bong)?

While privacy activists are all up in arms about people’s privacy for these reasons, Bonfyre believes that what happens in college stays in college. College students should be able to go to school, study, get their degrees and live the lives of college students without having to worry about that job interview when they’re 25, it’s all part of the college social experience.

Bonfyre has even gone to the lengths to make sure they aren’t indexed by third parties. This means that your college content won’t show up in Google’s search.

As Facebook prepares to go public for a bajillion dollars, they did in some ways alienate their base. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg prides himself on how long he held onto the company, even after being offered billions of dollars by Yahoo and Facebook. There was a compromise in all of that, and it’s a compromise  that Bonfyre is there to fix.

If you’re wondering if Jack Dorsey’s being upset at Facebook for buying Instagram for $1 billion dollars has anything to do with McKelvey joining Bonfyre’s board, it doesn’t. The news of McKelvey’s involvement with Bonfyre was over a month before Instagram was purchased by Facebook.

If you’re a student BonFyre is a great place to check out.


If you’re a college student you can join BonFyre here, if it’s not available at your school you can request it.

Part of this story came from this article

More background came from this article

Nibletz is the voice of startups “everywhere else” check out these new stories

We’re on a sneaker strapped nationwide road trip, check it out and support us here 



You Might Also Like