Manshu sharma

Manshu Sharma, an Indian American high school student who heads the iOS development of the MeetHere app, which he co-founded, is among the finalists of the Start-up Open finals for the app. If chosen as the winner, Sharma and his co-founders will present the app to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Johannesburg, South Africa. (LinkedIn photo)

Indian American high school student Manshu Sharma is among the contenders for the top prize in a global competition for startups.

Sharma, 17, co-founded the app MeetHere in the summer of 2016 with three high school students from Texas, California and Florida, according to a report.

Sharma met his co-founders in July at the University of Pennsylvania’s Management and Technology Summer Institute and came up with the startup idea and developed a business plan and prototype around it.

If Sharma and the MeetHere founders win the top prize of the virtual Start-up Open, they get a free trip in March to Johannesburg, South Africa, to make a presentation to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress.

MeetHere was the lone U.S. finalist from the 1,017 businesses coming from 101 countries in the competition.

Sharma, originally from India, now lives in Collegeville, Pa., with his parents. The idea for helping friends meet up more easily has been kicking around in his head for a while now, the report said.

The team launched the free MeetHere app July 28, 2016, on Google Play for Android devices, and it has been downloaded 50 to 250 times a day, Sharma said in the report. An iOS version is expected soon.

The app’s target market is high school kids and young people in their 20s. Sharma added in the report the hope would be to expand to professionals who would use it to meet clients.

An additional goal Sharma has with the app is to rid the sentiment that the Internet and mobile phones are drifting people apart. MeetHere is a way for technology to help bring people together, he said in the report.

The app was considered by CNBC as one of the world’s 10 hottest startups of 2016.

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