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OOHLALA at OCAD U - tomorrow!

Get ready, OCAD U, we’re coming to you! Tomorrow the OOHLALA team will be landing in downtown Toronto to take part in OCAD U’s Orientation Week. With 1,100 new undergrads to welcome, the Community Fair in Butterfield Park - an event in which students can check out campus clubs, university resources, and even an awesome mobile app - is bound to be a beehive of activity.

So set aside those frosh jitters, grab a new friend, and stop by our booth to see how OOHLALA can energize your student experience. See you soon, OCAD U!

OOHLALA partners with Studentsaver discount card

How many times has this happened to you?

You’re about to purchase something at a local retailer, and you think, ‘hang on, I’ve got a coupon/discount card for this!’ You delve deep into the crevasses of your wallet - mine looks a bit like George Costanza’s massive pocketbook on Seinfeld - fishing for that elusive piece of paper. Not surprisingly, you come up empty-handed. As luck would have it, you later spot the coupon under a pile of papers on your desk.

Sound familiar?

As students, we are constantly hunting for savings, whether it’s at a favourite pub or a trendy new boutique. Too often, however, discounts are lost because we don’t have that piece of paper on hand to redeem a 10% discount or a 2-for-1 savings.

The OOHLALA team has been working hard to solve this problem by providing users with the ability to redeem discounts right from their mobile devices. Simply alert us to your location and we’ll find the deals nearest to you.

Now we’re taking it one step further by introducing an exclusive partnership with Studentsaver. Recently launched by the Canadian Federation of Students, this new discount card is available exclusively to students, and includes a database of deals across Canada. Looking for some back-to-school apparel in Guelph? Hankering to try that tasty new pub in Halifax? Studentsaver has got you covered. And with OOHLALA, the deals just got even sweeter; now you can simply show the discount on your phone and redeem instantly. Finally, no coupon-clipping or forgotten points cards!

Start using Studentsaver discounts on your smartphones by downloading our app:  www.gotoohlala.com

Until next time, fellow deal hunters.


Clubbin' on campus

Back in my heyday of student politics (which was, shall we say, short-lived) I was in charge of clubs on campus. On the surface, this job might sound rather straightforward. But with enthusiasts of all stripes banding together to form organizations dedicated to everything from tea appreciation to dragon boating to Dungeons and Dragons, there was never a dull moment.

At the beginning of September, many students’ To Do lists include checking out the annual clubs fair on campus. Recently, however, I’ve noticed that more and more students are actually forming their own clubs. Over at Maclean’s magazine’s OnCampus site, writer Sarah Petz has catalogued some of the wackiest student clubs across Canada. My personal favourite has got to be the University of Ottawa’s “Thrill the World” club, which is dedicated to - you guessed it - Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Reckon moonwalking qualifies as their secret handshake?

[caption id="attachment_228" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="At this year's campus clubs fair, sign up for more than just crew"][/caption]

So while we’re on the topic, I wanted to let all of the club founders and members out there in on a little secret: OOHLALA is here to help! Not only do we energize the student experience through discounts and social notifications, we also assist clubs in connecting with students. We know how hectic the campus clubs scene can be, and we’re here to make life just a little bit easier. When you use OOHLALA, post an event once, and our app will automatically push the event to your website calendar, mobile devices, Facebook, and Twitter. In other words, just create an event and leave the rest to us! Want to know more? Check out more details on our website.

And to all you MJ fans out there, keep on thrillin’...


Photo cred goes to Flickr/TheLibraryofCongress

The countdown begins

Remember how you used to count the numbers of “sleeps” until your birthday? Or the number of days until Santa Claus arrived? Well, something tells me you’re not quite as excited about the imminent return (or initial step) onto campus this September. After the chaos of the first week back - not to mention a few awkward moments walking into the wrong lecture hall - professors will be kicking it into high gear with jam-packed lectures and all-too-soon assignment due dates.

That said, there are a few things to look forward to about back-to-school. Along with Orientation Week for fresh-faced first years, students’ September social calendars will be stacked with welcome back barbecues, club fairs, pub-crawls, and faculty parties. Whew, even the social side of things can be exhausting!

Here at OOHLALA, we’re no slackers when it comes to studying, but we’re all about balancing the books with our social lives. (Because, really, are you going to remember that tough exam, or dancing with your friends until dawn at the Engineering Club Night?) To manage these demands, we’ve developed a platform to help students navigate their life on campus. Much to our excitement, student unions across North America are coming onboard to use the OOHLALA app as a way to communicate with you.

Check out how the University of Toronto Students’ Union included us in their brochure:

Here’s to a few last weeks of summer sunshine!



OOHLALA Joins FounderFuel

We are absolutely, positively stoked to announce that OOHLALA has joined FounderFuel, one of Canada’s leading startup accelerator programs. After several hundred applications flooded in from around the world, FounderFuel chose 9 teams, and we are one of the lucky few.

We have packed our bags for la belle province and will spend the next three months in Montreal engaging with and being mentored by some of the leading entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and executives in North America. As we dive headfirst into the city’s vibrant startup community, we will be working hard to make OOHLALA better than ever.

A gigantic thank you goes out to you, all of our wonderful users, as you are the very reason we are here. Merci beaucoup!

Hello, Moto…err…Droid

And so, the smartphone wars continue. The tech world - not to mention the stock market - was abuzz today as Google acquired Motorola’s phone-making arm, Motorola Mobility. With a $12.5 billion price tag, the deal was no small feat, even for an Internet giant such as Google. With this move, the California-based company will now be able to build hardware that can be customized more seamlessly with its Android OS software.

What does this mean for the future of the smartphone? And how will this deal play out in the Android v. iPhone struggle? Over at FastCompany.com, writer Kit Eaton has taken an in-depth look at the deal, and comes to some interesting conclusions. Check out his post from earlier today.

Here at OOHLALA, we’re eager to see how this deal unfolds in the growing smartphone market. But with our app operating on all three major smartphone platforms - BlackBerry users, we haven’t forgotten about you! - there’s no OOHLALA dog in this fight. We’re just pumped to see smartphones get, well, even smarter.



Image courtesy of android.com

Score one more for Mr. Jobs

For all you iPhone fans out there (and I admit, I’m one of the converted), there’s a sliver of good news in this financial free fall: Apple is currently the most valuable company in the world.

The California-based gadget giant made headlines this past Tuesday as it surpassed Exxon Mobil in terms of market capitalization. That’s not to say Apple didn’t take a hit when stock markets began to go haywire; its shares were down 1.42% on Wednesday. All other shares, however, had sunk even further. When playing the market, I suppose the old adage holds: everything’s relative.

Over at Forbes.com, tech writer Brian Caulfield admitted yesterday that “at the start of the last recession, I suspected Apple wouldn’t do well in a bad economy. The opposite was true.” Like many, Caulfield recognizes that there’s something to be said for a good-looking computer.

And if it’s even possible, Steve Jobs now has even more admirers, this time from the trading floor.

Don’t buy all the Apple hype? I don’t blame you, and there are several other eye-catching new offerings in the Smartphone department for back to school. (Yep, it’s August, and soon you won’t be able to escape the phrase, “back to school”). Check out the top five devices Globe and Mail tech expert Chad Sapieha is recommending for the Smartphone savvy student here.

Luckily, our app will run on all of these, not to mention most Smartphones. I sheepishly admit that my former phone was so ancient it couldn’t support the OOHLALA app, but I was undoubtedly a rare case.

Until the next embarrassing tech confession, so long!


"Double dip" blues got you down?

The global financial system certainly had a case of “the Mondays” this morning.

[caption id="attachment_202" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption=""Going out of business": nowadays, an all too familiar sign"][/caption]

Unless you found yourself disconnected in the far reaches of a national park today, you woke up to another healthy serving of bleak reports about economies worldwide. “Second Recession in U.S. Could be Worst than First” was one headline splashed across the homepage of the New York Times.  “North American Markets Plunge” was another in this morning’s Globe and Mail.

If you’re playing the stock market, today was worse than most. But for youth who are simply trying to balance tuition fees with textbook prices and phone bills, what does the potential of a “double dip” recession mean? For one thing, it certainly doesn’t bolster the youth employment rate. In Canada, unemployment among 20- to 24-year-olds hovers around 15 percent, while in the U.S. it sits closer to 20 percent. To be sure, neither of these even begins to approach Spain’s whopping 44 percent, but both rates are far worse than the rosy days of the previous decade.

Maclean’s magazine recently dubbed Millennials, “the Screwed Generation,” especially as baby boomers seem more determined than ever to remain in the workforce indefinitely. While the lucky cohort of 2008 graduates entered a seemingly abundant job market, less than a year later, recent grads found themselves faced with scant employment prospects. Last year, for instance, the National Association of Colleges and Employers in the U.S. reported that less than 25 percent of 2010 graduates who applied for a job had one lined up by the time they finished their degree. Worryingly, the threat of a second - even deeper - recession is not promising for the class of 2012.

So what’s a student to do? Wait it out in grad school? Check out the job board at the local fast food joint? Take one unpaid internship after another with the hope that one will offer up an entry-level position?

At OOHLALA, we certainly don’t have all the answers. But we can help ease the pain with services like rewards at your favourite pubs and clubs, not to mention a student life calendar that will alert you to those all-important career fairs.

So here’s to attaining that elusive corner office…even if we have to survive another recession to get there.



Calling all Manitobans

22,000 is a big number. A huge number, in fact. If you had 22,000 hot dogs, you could eat one per day for the next 60 years. That’s a lot of street meat! On the other hand, I suppose it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to something like, say, the United States’ national debt.

But 22,000 students? That’s quite a chunk of North America’s student population, and that’s why we’re over the moon to announce our partnership with the University of Manitoba Students’ Union. As the largest students’ association in Manitoba, UMSU represents more than 22,000 undergrads. We’re thrilled to now offer these students all of the perks of the OOHLALA mobile app, including exclusive rewards for things like nightlife and travel, not to mention a unique chat service just for students.

So get ready, Manitoba, OOHLALA is coming to a smartphone near you!

Until next time,



Happy vacation from your summer vacation!

It’s August 1st, and that can only mean one thing in Canada. Well, several things actually, depending on where you find yourself on this midsummer morning. If you’re reading this in Calgary, Happy Heritage Day! If you’re relaxing in Vancouver, Happy British Columbia Day! And if you find yourself on the shores of Lake Ontario, Happy Simcoe Day!

But if we’re coming to you in Quebec, Nunavut, or Newfoundland - or even south of the border - it’s business as usual this Monday. It’s quite unfair, really, not to have a vacation from your summer vacation, so we’ll try to ease the pain with some exciting news.

The OOHLALA team is thrilled to now be partnering with…drum roll please…the Ontario College of Art & Design! Located in the heart of Toronto, OCAD University is turning out artistic greats in everything from photography to advertising to environmental design. This fall, student life just got a little more awesome for thousands of OCAD students who will now be able to connect with Campus Life using our latest mobile app. That means even the next Emily Carr, Jackson Pollock or Don Draper will be able to find out what’s going on at OCAD’s downtown campus, manage their social life, and get student discounts exclusive to OOHLALA users. This calls for a little summer celebrating!

Stay cool,