In the Grouve

Corey Parris and Todd Penske might seem like an odd pair to develop an app, but it’s been a formula for success


Corey Parris, left, and Todd Penske founded Grouve

Corey Parris, 22, first got the idea for an app when he and five other college buddies hosted a Halloween party dressed as Power Rangers. The party went fine, but afterward came the slew of requests: Can you send me this photo? Where can I find that video you took?

Parris, then a senior at UW-Stevens Point, noticed this situation coming up more and more—multiple platforms made it challenging to share photos and videos among many different people.

At the same time, Parris, 22, had met Todd Penske, 56, a man with experience starting businesses, at an entrepreneurial event at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau. The two talked about business development in central Wisconsin. As they looked for an enterprise to start together, Parris shared the Halloween party experience and the idea for an app was formed.

The two started Grouve, a company that offers a photo and video sharing app for both iOS and Android, that’s now in the hands of hundreds of users and several businesses in central Wisconsin.

Parris and Penske are far from just dreamers. And they’ve forgone the typical app model of “find venture capital, build the user base and find a way to monetize it later.” While Grouve has a free consumer version, their focus is developing the business and event app, and selling it as a service.

The first response to Grouve is often, “Aren’t there already a million ways to share photos and videos?” But that’s the point. Grouve sets up a shared event, in which everyone who is participating can share to one place where all those images are available to users. A wedding is perhaps the perfect example: You’re probably not Facebook friends with everyone, and might not want to be. A shared hashtag might do the trick, but people inevitably forget to use it. Grouve allows everyone to join for that one event, and access the images in real time.

But the meat and potatoes of the app comes in its Grouve Enterprise and Grouve Events. Event organizers can use it to promote a brand, and businesses can use it to form a shared culture within the company. The response from businesses so far has been positive, Penske says. The Wausau Chamber of Commerce’s young professionals group, Hype, recently used Grouve for an event last month. They’ve sold Grouve to businesses throughout Wisconsin and other Midwest states.

Penske says he and Parris focused on a fast development and launch, and so far they’ve been following that plan. “In the past eight months, we’ve been doing what we said we would, and things are going pretty gosh-darned well.” Find more at