There’s an emergence of college-aged entrepreneurs with start-up enterprises. Colleges are fueling this trend with the rise of start-up competitions, incubator programs, and opportunities for seed funding — everybody is trying to become the next big thing.
Arguably the most successful mobile app (excluding Facebook) started by college students is Pulse. Two Stanford graduate students, Asha Kothari and Ankit Gupta, developed the news aggregation app in 2010. They raised $800,000 in funding in 2011 and another $9 million a year later. In 2013, LinkedIn bought the app for $90 million.
Here are three start-ups created by college students that you should look out for.
Noise is an inevitable part of living in an apartment or dorm. Those who suffer from noisy neighbors and don’t know how to approach them to request they turn down the volume a bit just caught a break.
Kricket is an app that allows residents to send a standard text message that says “please quiet down" and “thank you," anonymously. It was started by three students at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. after winning various start-up competitions, including being chosen as one of 12 global start-ups that will participate in the Next First Look Forum in New York City to pitch to the largest network of investors in the world.
Quinnipiac has chosen to integrate Kricket into its student life experience by making incoming freshman for the fall 2014 semester register and download the service. This could save some RAs a lot of work.
Tom Nassr co-created Kricket with his two classmates, Stanley Martone and Connor Croteau as a concept to make neighborhood living — especially in college towns — easier. The app is intricate, offering users to pinpoint their neighbors and send them signal to quiet down.
“We integrate directly with universities and apartment complexes to create digital floor plans for their residents to visualize their building from," Nassr said.
Nassr’s team member, Connor Croteau, said that Kricket is expanding and there’s a good chance more colleges are going to adopt the service, or at least give it a trial run.
“We have been contacted by 10 universities including Brown and University of Chapel Hill." Croteau said. “We are also hiring four more developers in the next two weeks making our team 10 members strong,"
Tangled headphones — undoubtedly one of the worst first world problems we face today — could soon become a thing of the past. A stroke of ingenuity led Paul Schrems, a 25-year-old inventor, to solve the issue of headphone tangle-ization when he created and founded TurtleCell — an iPhone case with retractable earbuds.
According to Jeremy Lindlbauer, TurtleCell’s director of sales and marketing, Schrems thought of the idea while pursuing a master’s degree at University of Michigan. “He spent an entire walk untangling his headphones and was fed up enough to use his engineering background to create his own solution," Lindlbauer said.
Shrems decided to put his mechanical engineering education to use and make the case. Lindlbauer said that after a Kickstarter campaign and a few business pitch competitions, the company’s big break came with a stranger they met at a bar. “Pretty early on we had a stroke of luck and found an angel investor who invested almost $50,000," Lindlbauer said.
The company has since grown to a team of nine, and is preparing for the upcoming launch of the product in stores in time for the holiday season. “We will be launching the product officially in the next couple of months, but the actual case already in production, “Lindlebauer said. He added that shoppers could expect to see TurtleCell on store shelves as soon as October.
Originally known as Sticky Notes, Notefuly was named as one of Inc. Magazine’s coolest college start-ups of 2014 after it generated nearly half a million dollars in revenue. Taseem “Tas" Peterson, his brother Mark and friend Cameron Smith comprise the three-pronged team behind Notefuly, and they’re looking to transform the way we manage our digital to-do lists.
Tas Peterson and his crew came up with the idea for the app in 2009. “The idea of Notefuly came over a weekend," Peterson said. “We had a goal to get to market in 24 hours." The self-criticizing Peterson lamented that the missed his somewhat inconceivable deadline. “It actually took us about a week to do," Peterson said.
Peterson may have been disappointed, it still stands that the team developed and released a highly successful app in less time than it takes to get a package delivered by Amazon.
Though it took only a week to produce, the team’s perfectionism made it so the app was a continuous work in progress, down to the fine details. “It took 2 years to name it," Peterson said.
Notefuly is still under construction. The app developers are preparing to launch an upgrade to the app in the form of an upgraded cloud service that’s going into a beta version the first week of August, just in time for back to school. “That’s going to be the next big thing," Peterson said.
Cordova, Cristina. "Why Did LinkedIn Acquire Pulse For $90 Million?" Forbes Magazine, 17 Apr. 2013. Web. 22 July 2014. Retrieved from Forbes
"The 25 Best Smartphone Apps Developed By Students." Getting Smart The 25 Best Smartphone Apps Developed By Students Comments. OnlineUniversities.com, 6 June 2012. Web. 22 July 2014. Retrieved from gettingsmart.com