Ole Miss students use technology to create app that tracks local bar information

Published 7:14 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Profile 2024: Ole Miss students use technology to create app that tracks local bar information

By Alyssa Schnugg
Submitted photos

There seems to be an app for just about everything today and the tech-savvy are using that technology to craft a way into the future by bringing knowledge of a myriad of subjects to the fingertips of everyone with a cell phone.

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At 18 years old, Julian Bourgeois has already developed two new apps. While still in high school he created an app that tracks basketball shots for the Apple Watch. After arriving at the University of Mississippi in August as a freshman, an idea for a new app came to him while out and about in Oxford.

“When I came here, I immediately noticed the problem of how high the bar covers were, but I didn’t really act on it right away,” he said. “Then one of my friends, who is an Uber driver, said, ‘Hey, what if there was a way to track bar covers? And that got me thinking.”

After doing extensive research, Bourgeois decided to develop his new app, “Crowd Cover,” using crowdsourcing technology to allow users to see how much a bar is charging for a cover charge, whether there is a waiting line to get in and how crowded the bar might be.

Crowdsourcing is a technology where users on the app input the information, and based on a general consensus of that input, the app delivers the information to other users.

By September, Crowd Cover was released for iPhones on the App Store, allowing Oxonians, visitors and Ole Miss students to see which bar was charging a cover and whether or not they’d have a wait to get into the restaurant or bar.

“It was an instant hit right away,” Bourgeois said. “In the first month, we had 10,000 downloads.”

Bourgeois grew up in Metairie, La., and attended Haynes Academy. While there, he participated in basketball and baseball until he suffered an injury in his sophomore year.

During rehab I started to explore programming with more interest and took more structured programming classes,” he said. “With the skills I learned, I developed the basketball app for Apple Watch.”

In November, Bourgeois enlisted the help of fellow Ole Miss student Larson Carter, who now holds the title of chief technology officer for Crowd Cover. Both Carter and Bourgeois are computer science majors and Carter is also doing an entrepreneurship track for his minor.

Carter, 19, and a sophomore, has been working on developing new features for the app that will allow restaurant-bar owners and managers the ability to provide cover charges and other information to include on the app.

“We are scaling up our feature set to make it more interactive for our customers,” Carter said. “We are making the app more powerful.”

From Jonesboro, Ark., he graduated from Valley View High School. “(My interest) started with technology from as far as I can remember with the influence from my father,” Carter said. 

Experienced in computer networking and mobile app development, he is specializing in DevOps over time as his skills develop. He started working on the concept of “Official Partnered Bars” in his freshman year at Ole Miss.

The duo are also working on making the app eventually available for Android phones, as well as iPhones.

“We do have plans to include Android devices in a launch later on down the road,” Carter said. “We just have a lot of features we’re trying to get stable first before we add another device structure to our umbrella.”

The app currently tracks bar information in 11 cities, mostly homes to SEC colleges, including New Orleans, Auburn and Starkville. 

Bar owners and managers who would like to partner with Crowd Cover to provide information can email them. The app is available for free on the App Store.