Daniel Singer’s ’17 first time running a business was neither when he helped launch the website Youtell, nor when he created the apps Backchat and Bond. It was when he set up a car wash in third grade.
“I’d hire other kids to clean cars, and I’d take half the money,” Singer said. “I just liked bossing people around. People would call me bossy. I didn’t like that, but it was true. It’s kind of how I was as a kid.”
And when he wasn’t telling kids to wash cars, he was telling players in other countries to look after his buildings in the video game Minecraft.
“I’d stay up until like 2 a.m. and talk to people, and I’d have someone in Australia watching over everything,” he said.
Now Singer scarcely has time for Minecraft. He and Harvard student Kevin Zhang ’14 are launching a new app, Bond, which they plan to announce to the school during 1st and 3rd Wednesday Assembly next week.
Bond is a social networking mobile app designed to connect users with other users who have similar interests and ambitions in their field.
“We think Harvard-Westlake is a great testing ground for new ideas and would love to invite [students] to try Bond,” Singer said.
When Singer first started working on apps two years ago, he had help from his father, movie producer and entrepreneur Uri Singer. He began working as a designer for Youtell, which allowed users to pose a question and receive anonymous feedback from friends, family and coworkers.
“I never counted it as a company that I founded because it came as this thing that had already started to form, and I hopped on board, and I took the lead, but it wasn’t something that I had fully done by myself,” he said.
Since it was a youth-centered product, Singer said he was nominated to lead the product. His father remained as a co-founder and continued to mentor Singer through the business aspects of the company while he consulted with others who had experience with tech startups. He started to learn more about app design and coding from online tutorials.
Singer, who was a freshman at the time, led the company to transition to focusing on an anonymous messaging app of his own design, Backdoor, which was later renamed Backchat.
Backchat users could anonymously text people they knew, and the app provided hints about the identity of the anonymous user.
At its peak, the app had about 3 million users and $200,000 in seed funding from the Brazilian company VC ArpexCapital. Singer closed the company at the end of his freshman year after losing users.
With a lot of time on his hands, Singer met Zhang while he was visiting the Upper School and told him about his idea for Bond. So far Singer and Zhang have incorporated Bond as a company, built and designed a client version of the app and are perfecting the algorithm. Singer focuses on design and business aspects, while Zhang works on the programming.