Monday, September 21, 2020

Startup companies to launch next semester

With the end of the semester approaching, three startup companies are preparing for their launch at Plattsburgh State next fall semester.

Economics accounting and finance major sophomore Ameet Kumar and biology sophomore Vrinda Kumar are the founders of Campus Surf, a website that was designed for students to connect with each other with various objectives, such as selling textbooks, finding carpools, promoting events and offering tutoring services. Students can also put up advertisements on the site for free. Those who wish to buy or sell books can also communicate via email.

Vrinda said their co-founder graduate of University of Waterloo Tejas Kamath thought about the idea because they saw that during the school year there was a lot of furniture being thrown out or posters being put up everywhere.

“Those things aren’t being sold or the posters aren’t being looked at by the appropriate people, so we thought about that idea for a website,” she said.

Vrinda then met Ameet through PSUC’s entrepreneurship club, and from there, the two have worked very closely working on the company.

“Right now, there’s no other platform where students can do this kind of stuff. People usually post it on Facebook or other sites, but they are very inefficient,” Ameet said. “It’s not convenient to search for. This will be university based and term based.”

Their website will launch in August 2016, so students will be able to use the website when they return for the fall semester. Vrinda and Ameet are also currently working on the mobile app through iOS and Android.

“When we explained the idea at first, we realized we were getting into something really big. This is something that’s not out there. We have it. It’s ours,” Ameet said.

Besides Campus Surf, students can also look forward to Ideayet.

PSUC sophomore triple major in finance, economics and management information systems and two minors in computer science and business analysis Brandon Mitchell has already managed to become the CEO of Ideayet Corporation, which is a corporate company he founded in 2015 that allows users to earn money and equity for posting and sharing ideas.

“On July 29 — I’ll never forget the day — I was sitting down in Glen Cove, which is where I live now with my little brother, Kermit Mitchell III, who is my co-founder,” Mitchell said. “And we were just joking around. We said it would be funny if there was a platform for buying and selling ideas — just something abstract.”

Mitchell said their jokes turned into a 10 minute conversation with his little brother and cousin, and by the end of the night, they had spent hours talking about a platform that could buy ideas.

They created a Google Doc, and for the next three weeks, they brainstormed 14 pages of ideas.

Mitchell and his other co-founder Molly Lundgren have been working on the company to expand. They feel like their ideas are fresh and new.

“Currently, when you think about social media, you think you’re just wasting your time,” Mitchell said. “We’re looking to transform that thought into something that is ‘OK, I’m going onto social media because we’re learning something, and we’re engaging in something stimulating.”

Mitchell said there have been some obstacles. He said the site wasn’t picking up the way they had wanted it to initially. However, after attending Tech Day in New York City, his team felt more motivated.

“Sometimes production kind of lacks when you don’t have a clear direction of why you’re doing it and what’s the next step,” Mitchell said.

After the event, they began to hold three meetings weekly and began recruiting more students to be involved. He said recruiting people has also been a challenge. Mitchell and his team plan to go to upper level computer science classes, mathematics and management classes to recruit people to expand the company.

Next semester, students can be more involved by interning for Ideayet, and they can earn up to three college credits for being involved in the company.

Additionally, another company is being formed but with a more humanitarian cause.

PSUC junior international business and global supply chain management major Menelik Pascal is currently working on Project Aqua, a water supply company that tries to find water solutions for the most at risk areas and people.

Growing up in his home island of Dominica, Pascal said the climate change had affected lifestyles greatly. He said he’s seen firsthand how water shortages affect the people around him, which is why water conservation is an issue he’s very passionate about.

Pascal said he met with an engineer, which is where they launched their concept.

“It basically conserves water and instills sanitation because it forces you to wash your hands, or you can’t flush the toilet,” he said.

Pascal said there have been many obstacles because he’s targeting at risk areas which are about 1000 miles away.

Another challenge has been that the vision has evolved over time.

“As an entrepreneur, we see a vision that we seek out to do,” he said. “But then we lose our vision somewhere along the way because we have to adapt to what’s changing with us.”

One major goal is to launch his pilot project in Dominica, where he plans to partner up with small schools there to improve their sanitation. He said he wants to also have his first set of data by Dec. 31 so the company can share their information on the Web.

Pascal said he didn’t start the company simply for the sake of starting a company. He said he saw an opportunity and went for it.

“You know how people ask you what you want to do when you grow up?” he said. “For me, that was summarized when I was a kid at six or seven.”

Pascal said the prime minister of Dominica Roosevelt Douglas had passed away, and he appreciated how people mourned his passing.

“He was looked at as such a good guy. That’s what I want to do,” he said. “Not necessarily for the salary or the title— but for the purpose.”

Email Kavita Singh at kavita.singh@cardinalpointsonline.com

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