The Bar’Fredag founder team, from left to right: Sebastian Karl, Andreas Mandøe, Jacob Rask and Christian Porsmose.

University Friday bars serve as meeting points where students can relax, socialize and engage in communities. To many, they are an essential part of student life. At Aarhus University, there are around 40 different Friday bars; until now, there has yet to be a service that provides students with an overview. A group of engineering students decided to take matters into their own hands, and so the app and the company Bar’Fredag were born. 

“If it doesn’t exist, we’ll make it ourselves.”

AU Engineering alone has several Friday bars (Katrines Kælder, Approksimerbar, Alkymia, and Haddoks). Even so, the many other Friday bars at AU are also interesting to the group. Andreas, Sebastian, Jacob, and Christian, all 3rd-semester computer technology students, were missing an overview of the AU Friday bars’ opening hours, locations, offers, campaigns, etc. Hence, they began developing the app in the winter of 2022. 

About the app

They named the app Bar’Fredag – a pun over the meanings Friday bar and just Friday. The overarching goal of Bar’Fredag has always been to make it easier for students to explore Friday bars at Aarhus University. The app connects Friday bars and students by providing an overview of the bars’ locations and allowing bars to update information about themes, offers, and opening hours. Students can also add each other to groups and plan a bar crawl route to visit different Friday bars.

The group continuously gathers user feedback from both students and bars and works on implementing new features. Currently, they are developing a coupon system in collaboration with Approksimerbar and experimenting with other features they hope to roll out next semester. The app is developed in Flutter, a Google framework that allows development for multiple platforms with a single codebase.

From pastime project to student startup

In just a few months, the team transitioned from tinkering with an idea as a hobby to releasing the app in App Store and Google Play in August of this year. Over 1,000 students have already downloaded the app, and the team is working to spread awareness among bars and get them to update the app with relevant information.

The group collaborates closely to develop and maintain the app, frequently meeting on weekends to brainstorm, gather ideas and work on new features and bug fixes.

Transitioning from a hobby project to a live app requires more structure in the work process, putting the group’s planning skills to the test. Andreas says:

“Our studies are quite demanding, and we want to do well both there and in our startup. Therefore, we constantly have to prioritize our time and tasks. It can be challenging when there are not enough hours in the day.”

Overall, the development process is a significant learning curve for the classmates. They have relied heavily on the technical knowledge gained in their studies, especially from the Software Architecture course. They have also had to take a lot of other things into consideration, such as, for example, GDPR.

The marketing and promotion aspect is also challenging, as the four classmates are more passionate about the technical solution than the marketing side. They have started an Instagram profile, and luckily, word of mouth also seems to work in their favor. They also hope to establish a closer collaboration with the AU Friday bars to help spread the word.

Go for it!

The Bar’Fredag team reflects on their first joint project. Despite the steep learning curve, they are pleasantly surprised by the support they have received from the startup ecosystem at AU, the Friday bars and the app users. For them, taking on the challenge and learning along the way has been valuable, and they recommend the same approach to other students with entrepreneurial aspirations. Sebastian elaborates:

“Take the plunge! Take it one step at a time and seek all the help and support available to you as students.”

The fuel to continue working on the app is the group’s shared passion for creating something they saw value in – and something that is now also appreciated by others. They hope that their app can encourage students to explore the various AU Friday bars and thereby contribute to students meeting each other across study programmes.