There have been ongoing programs and initiatives set in place to close the STEM gender gap. Men dominate the field, and black women in particular are few and far in between the numbers. But things are changing, and young women like Maci Peterson make us very optimistic about the future.
Maci is the brainiac behind On Second Thought. The cleverly named innovation is an app that lets you take back text messages before the content is delivered to the receiving party. This app is a prayer answered to every college student who’s accidentally hit “send” to their moms and not their BFFs after a late Friday night/early Saturday morning.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the young innovator and former Spelman student to get all the details behind On Second Thought, her marketing and financing strategy for the new business, and how we can attract more girls of color to STEM. Read on.
So tell us exactly how On Second Thought works, and share some of the app’s cool features.
On Second Thought is very easy to use. After downloading the app from the Google Play Store, you go to the app’s settings, set On Second Thought as your default SMS app and determine the length of your “grace period”—up to 60 seconds. The “grace period” is the amount of time you have to swipe left and Ost (recall) a message after hitting “send.”
Another feature in development is “curfew.” It’s for those nights on the town when you know you might have a bit too much to drink. Just go to your On Second Thought settings, determine the time you’d like your “curfew” to start, and all messages you try to send after that time will be held until the next morning. Once the “curfew” expires, you can look back and see which messages you still want to send, and which ones you’re thankful didn’t go through.
How is On Second Thought performing?
We currently have over 4,200 users, expected to reach 5,000 very soon.
Congratulations. How have you been able market and promote the app?
We have used social media and an aggressive public relations campaign to market On Second Thought. We have also forged strategic partnerships with other apps that have over 2.5 million monthly users to promote our app. Additionally, we used my relationships in Hollywood to secure product placement deals for On Second Thought to be integrated into film and television shows.
For aspiring entrepreneurs, how did you finance the business?
In the beginning days of On Second Thought, my partners, phenomenal parents and I bootstrapped. Then we took in some money in our friends and family round at the end of last year. We are currently raising our seed round from institutional and private investors.
What steps did you take to even create an app?
My background is in marketing and public relations, and I can write code to build a rudimentary website. I definitely did not have the technical chops to build an app as complex as On Second Thought. In my case, I knew I needed a partner with a technical background who could lead the development of the app. I realized my good friend, Stewart Voit, had a technical background and I asked him to join On Second Thought as our Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer.
Before we wrap up, you’re doing remarkable things in the world of tech—a field where black women are significantly outnumbered. What drew your interest to tech, and how do you think we market it to be attractive to more girls and women of color?
I was drawn to tech because I had a solution to fix common mistakes in messaging. We’ve sent messages we needed to get back. I saw a problem and a void in the market, and then I thought of and developed a solution.
Girls and women of color will be more attracted to the tech industry if they see women of color succeeding. My hope has always been that people will hear my story and think, “If Maci did it, I know I can too.”
Download On Second Thought here.