Recent grad launches new app where students can hang out


Five co-founder Nikita Bier launched his company while still an undergraduate.


A young Berkeley-educated entrepreneur has just launched a new iPhone app that he calls a “virtual version of Berkeley,” where students can chat and meet.

The app, called Five, was developed by Nikita Bier, a 2012 graduate and co-founder of a consumer technology startup also called Five, which was incubated at UC Berkeley’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. Bier launched the company, with a partner, while still a student.

Two of Five’s earlier apps, Politify and Five Labs, were data-visualization tools launched from Berkeley and attracted millions of users, according to Bier. Politify, a web app that allowed users to gauge the impact of a political candidate’s economic policies on their own lives, won the top prize in the 2012 CITRIS innovation contest.

The new app, Five, went live on Tuesday, and 600 people downloaded it by midday Wednesday. Users can chat in semi-anonymous rooms on any topic, from parties to study groups, Bier says. “For privacy, no names are stored by the app, and messages can be seen only by those in the room,” a Five press release states.

For now, the app is meant just for Berkeley students, Bier says, and available only to those with a campus email address.