Community Connect

Office of the Vice President for Community Services


A Battle Against Bullying

With the help of the UTSA Small Business Development Center, a former soldier launches a business that develops apps, including one for students to report acts of aggression

Timothy Porter
Founder and CEO, Appddiction Studio

Tim Porter planned on a long career in the military, quickly moving up the Army ranks for nearly 10 years. But one instant changed everything. Stationed at Camp Casey in South Korea in 1998, a bomb exploded in Porter’s hands during a training exercise. The majority of his fingers couldn’t be reattached. After serving as a paratrooper, jumpmaster, drill sergeant and sergeant first class he would be medically retired and looking at a future that suddenly had no evident path.

That isn’t to say that the Vicksburg, Miss., native didn’t have ambition. Over the next 15 years Porter would enter the information technology field and climb the ladder much like he had in the military. With the help of friends, reading books and watching tutorials, he taught himself how to develop apps. With the help of UTSA’s Small Business Development Center, he became founder and CEO in 2011 of Appddiction Studio. Porter and his team develop apps, Web–based application–management consoles and application–based software product design.

Porter first heard he could get assistance from UTSA through the local San Antonio office of SCORE, a national nonprofit that comprises more than 13,000 volunteer business counselors. His veteran status made him eligible for help from the SBDC’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center, which assists small–business owners, veteran entrepreneurs, women–owned small businesses, employers and energy–conscious business owners in a 79–county area. The center provides help in a variety of ways, including government contracting, employer services and the bid and proposal process.

With the help of the UTSA Small Business Development Center, a former soldier launches a business that develops apps, including one for students to report acts of aggression

Business adviser Curtis Mohler worked extensively with Porter on startup services, including obtaining local, city, county and state certifications as well as registrations in support of state and federal solicitations. They also helped develop a marketing capability brief for the public sector.

“The staff are experts in leveraging business acumen and providing resources, advice and access to avenues that help small–business owners start and grow their business,” Porter says. “I highly recommend them to any veteran starting their own business.”

The first app that Porter and his team created is called Stop Bullies. It allows students who witness bullying to anonymously and immediately send a text description, picture, video or voice recording of the incident to school administrators via a smartphone or tablet PC. The information is managed and stored on the school district’s computers. Although it is an anonymous message, there is the opportunity for two–way communication as needed, specifically when it applies to suicide reports and similar events.

Porter says that, as a father and a veteran, he felt it was important to do something to fix a problem. “The military served as an invaluable experience for me. It taught me leadership, team building and teamwork, structure, getting the job done and looking out for others,” he says. “But, most importantly, it taught me everyone deserves a chance to be treated the same.”

The app has been launched at school districts across America, and there is even a Spanish–language version that has been adopted by schools in Mexico. In 2012 the USA Network Characters Unite campaign—which honors 10 people annually for their efforts to combat discrimination—recognized Porter because of the Stop Bullies app.

That same year, Appddiction began work on an app for VIA Metropolitan Transit. The Go VIA VIA app is the official app for the transit agency. Riders can view transit stops in the area and get real time arrivals for routes. They can also set an alert, and the app will notify them when their bus is minutes away.

In addition to serving as the CEO for Appddiction, Porter teaches at the University of the Incarnate Word. He started the first app development program at UIW, introducing app development to information savvy students from across the globe.

“Teaching allows me to share the knowledge I’ve gained with students of the future,” Porter says. “I think it’s important to give back to your community, and this is my way of doing that.”