Amigo, a social media app designed to help students make friends on college campuses, launched Monday at the University of Wisconsin.

Co-founders Paa Adu and Sophia Huard came up with the idea to reconcile the hardships college student are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adu said after realizing his alma mater, Stanford University, wasn’t letting students on campus, he wanted to create an experience where students could make friends despite the pandemic’s challenges.

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Adu created Amigo as a place where students could easily make friends without any stigma.

“A lot of existing social media apps are meant for maintaining existing friendships, not creating new ones,” Adu said.

The Amigo co-founders said college is a place where young adults are looking to be social and restrictions on gatherings make it difficult for students to create new friendships.

Adu said the app provides a safer alternative for those who are hesitant to meet up with others in person. 

“The goal of Amigo is just to help the UW students meet virtually in an environment where you know what you’re getting into,” Adu said. “Everyone on the platform is looking to meet people as well, so that helps streamline it a lot. It’s well-defined, low pressure and everyone’s looking for the same thing, so it really creates a great user experience.”

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The app first launched on Stanford’s campus in December 2020. Amigo quickly saw high growth and usage, Adu said he knew students could use something like Amigo across the country. Adu said the app has attracted users from places across the globe, including Australia and Africa.

Since December, the app has launched on six college campuses, with UW being the latest to join.

Adu said Amigo is currently focusing its efforts on Big 10 schools, but when people download Amigo, he can see their location, which helps target marketing efforts.

Any student can download the app now and sign up. Once there are a certain number of students in an area, Amigo can match students with users that are close to them, Adu said.