The Story of Flare

July 27, 2023

This article was adapted from an article originally by Taylor Dykstra

From Brown University Freshman to Flare Founder

Developed by Jack, the founder of Flare in his room over three years, Flare has been adopted by over 1000 groups across the country.

"Flare kind of just has everything in one place, which is very different. You don’t have all these different apps like PhotoCircle, GroupMe, Facebook, your calendar app, OmegaOne, GreekBill, Instagram for the menu, it’s literally all in the same place, which I think is really convenient,” says Aubrey Voss, Flare user and student ambassador.

Flare takes the best and most relevant features of apps such as Facebook, GroupMe, PhotoCircle, Calendars, etc. and puts all those features into one place. For example, in Flare, you can create group chats, connect with other chapters, create events on the calendar, and view your friend’s birthdays all without leaving the app.

Founder and CEO, Jack Chen, was studying at Brown University when he began to learn how to code in his free time.

The first sketch of Flare
“I saw a huge need within Greek life, especially within student organizations in general to help out and make a difference with communication because people use so many different apps to communicate,” says Chen, “Maybe there’s a more streamlined way to do all of this.”

In his freshman year at Brown University, Chen met Daniel Breyer, a senior at Brown and early Headspace and Grammarly investor, who became his mentor and eventually, co-founder.

“It just so happened that he really believed in me, he really loved what I had going at the time, and I didn’t really have too much — but he believed we could build a company together.”

After Chen’s sophomore year in 2018, he decided to leave school, move in with his parents and continue building Flare full-time. Chen finalized Flare after three years working day and night on the app in his bedroom at his parents house. In August 2021, Flare officially launched on the Apple App store and Google Play store.

After the launch of Flare, Chen began traveling the country to different universities to spread the word. He would rent U-Haul trucks to sleep in and visit Planet Fitness’s to workout and shower. Chen went door to door at sorority and fraternity houses to introduce Flare and talk about how this app could benefit chapters.

Jack coded Flare in UHauls as he traveled across the country knocking on doors to convince initial users to try his app
“When my chapter first tried out Flare, we had a positive experience with it. It felt more secure than apps such as GroupMe and it has a great ease of use,” says Spencer Van Den Broeke, a Flare user.

Some of the chapters at Florida State University were among the first to use Flare. Chen then traveled to Penn State University and Louisiana State University to pitch his app. He was successful and multiple chapters began using the app.Fundraising for Flare didn’t begin until the spring of 2022. In June 2022, Flare was able to close their first round of funding from investors who have backed huge companies including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Spotify. In September 2022, Tri Delta’s executive office officially approved Flare across all their chapters.The app has been successful and a strong competitor partly because of the direct feedback he has received from Flare users.

“The difference with Flare is that I’ve got feedback from hundreds and hundreds of fraternity and sorority executives and I put a lot of their suggestions into the app,” says Chen.

Some of the key features available on the app include group chats, calendars, events, attendance, contacts and birthdays.

Flare captures all of the features your group needs to communicate—all in one place

Several tens of thousands of people use and benefit from Flare every day as well as hundreds of sororities, fraternities and student groups. Jack continues to develop and improve Flare to become the most efficient and useful group communications app with his team.

Flare is available for free download on the Apple App Store and Google Play store.