University Park Neighbors Made Most of App-ortunities

University Park residents Allison and John Fainter created the Fan Up App, while their neighbor Spencer Cochran (far right) and his friend Jake Porter created iSolunar. (Staff photo: Chris McGathey)

Spencer Cochran and Allison and John Fainter are neighbors both on their University Park street and in cyberspace. In addition to having regular jobs, the friends are enjoying success with sports-related apps they have created.

Cochran and his business partner Jake Porter, both 1990 Highland Park graduates, are seasoned veterans when it comes to creating apps — they have produced 13 of them as co-owners of Red Snake Enterprises. But their latest endeavor, iSolunar, has taken off like wildfire. The $4.99 app, which provides peak hunting and fishing times worldwide, has been downloaded more than 500,000 times and was the No. 1 sports app in the iTunes app store.

“The sole reason we started the business was essentially to support the one app we initially designed,” Cochran said. “We just kind of expanded into more apps after we got our feet wet. When we started, there were maybe a dozen hunting-related apps in the app store. Our first app showed up in the top 100 sports apps within the first six weeks it was released, so we saw there was a niche to develop more apps. It started off as an extension of our hobby.”

Friends since kindergarten, Cochran and Porter are both doctors who have caught the app-producing bug. The name of their company derives from their childhood nicknames — Cochran’s was “red,” while Porter’s was “snake.” They started their side enterprise about two-and-a-half years ago.

“Neither one of us are particularly computer savvy,” Porter said. “We knew how we wanted it to look and sort of had a storyboard that showed how we wanted the app to function. We sourced the actual programming out to a developer. We both grew up hunting and fishing. I’ve got some family property out in Weatherford; Spencer has got some out near Sweetwater. We’ve basically done it all of our lives.”

Cochran moved into the house next door to the Fainters a year ago. It was through their conversations over the fence that Allison first told Cochran about her idea for an app. The Fainters are both University of Texas graduates.

“We have season tickets to the UT games,” said Allison, who works for a custom clothier. “We’re big fans. With the emoticons on the iPhone, you can text a smiley face or a high five or whatever. It seemed like you should be able to also text someone a Bevo or a ‘Hook ’em Horns.’ It was a simple idea. I was surprised it wasn’t already out there. We talked to a few different people out there, and they were like, ‘That’s a good idea.’ ”

Cohran and Porter helped the Fainters get their idea off the ground and get the app developed. With NCAA licensing, the couple also had to go through a lot of red tape before their app could be finalized and become available to the public. Now, users can purchase any number of NCAA logos or helmets to add to their text messages.

“Allison is a real go-getter,” Cochran said. “She’s very industrious. She said, ‘I’ve got an idea for this app. What do you think?’ She showed me the content for the Fan Up app. We thought it sounded like a good idea. It was her idea and brainchild, but we kind of helped her navigate the process.”

The Fainters are thrilled with the response to their inaugural app.

“We launched this football season,” said John, who works in commercial real estate. “It’s been a nice surprise. We thought it would be a good idea, but other people out there think it’s a decent idea, too. We started small with the Big 12 and SEC teams because people we know went to those schools, follow those schools, and we know the passion they have. We hope there are some other opportunities out there [for more apps]. It’s been a fun experience.”

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