In 2013, Ohio University undergraduate Seth Miller and his partner Brandon Logan, a 2012 OHIO graduate, came in first place at Startup Weekend Athens with Rapchat, a mobile application that allows users to communicate via short raps set over pre-recorded beats. The app is free, and has been downloaded over 192,000 times with an impressive 170,000 of those downloads coming from 2015.
Startup Weekend returns to Athens on March 13. The event, held at the Ohio University Innovation Center, gives students an opportunity to pitch business ideas and receive feedback from their peers, who help develop the most successful pitches.
Miller, who graduated in 2014 with a dual bachelor’s degrees in business administration and sports management, attributes his initial confidence and business progress to his experiences at Startup Weekend. During the event the Rapchat team built a prototype, figured out potential revenue streams, and came up with key statistics they use to this day.
“In the end, I’m not sure if Rapchat would exist today if I didn’t go to Startup Weekend. Getting validation from people other than my family and friends that this idea could be huge was instrumental in me taking the next step to form a company and begin working on it,” he said.
His advice to current students who want to start their own businesses: “Remove the ‘I wish there was a blank’ statements with ‘Eff it, I’m going to create blank.’”
“You’d be surprised to realize that you subconsciously come up with business ideas every day as you complain about the problems you’re facing,” he said. “If you pay attention to these problems and complaints that surface throughout the course of one day, you’ll quickly realize that these may be problems — but more importantly they are opportunities to come up with an idea to solve these problems.”.
Startup Weekend is a prime opportunity to test out the potential of such ideas, and anyone can participate.
“You don’t have to be a business student to start a business and you don’t have to be a computer science major to learn how to code,” Miller said. “Startups require creativity and passion. Even if you aren’t feeling creative or passionate—experiences like these will spark that in you.”
Miller has lofty goals for the company. “I plan to build the rap social network,” he said. “If [users] want to hear a random freestyle that Wiz Khalifa did in the car, they should be able to navigate to Wiz’s feed and play it.”
With a rapidly expanding user base, Miller is well on the way to achieving that goal. Participants in this year’s Startup Weekend could find similar success, and Miller wants to help them do so.
“Talk to me because I’ve learned way too many things the hard way. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and I’m happy to help,” he said.
Rapchat can be downloaded on the Apple App Store. For more information, visit http://www.rapchat.me/
For more on Startup Weekend and registration information, visit www.up.co/communities/usa/athens-oh/startup-weekend/5699. An early-bird special grants reduced registration prices until Friday, March 6.
Article Written By: Hannah Koerner
Dr. Boss is a new faculty for the Center for Entrepreneurship. We are highlighting him in our spotlight series to show the different facets and assets of this center. If you want more information at the center check out this link. The Certificate in Entrepreneurship is a new, flexible way to get involved in entrepreneurship that will help you be successful for in your future career.
Dr. Boss is a resource for the Center for Entrepreneurship. His experience with entrepreneurship has been varied and interesting. He grew up with a father that was an entrepreneur, he started a nonprofit firm during his undergraduate studies, he worked for two startups, he earned his MBA at Babson College, and he earned his Ph.D. in Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M. Indeed, entrepreneurship has played a huge role in his life.
His undergraduate nonprofit was inspired from the two years he spent in Brazil. While there, he witnessed the educational struggles that many people face in third-world countries. He brought these ideas and his desire to help others back to the U.S. and started an educational assistance foundation.
He continued to develop his skills at Babson College—the nation’s top entrepreneurship school. This program really pushed him to be creative and not worry about “the perfect idea.” One interesting exercise conducted by the college was to place the students in modules to stretch their creativity. Dr. Boss’s group was placed in the “movement” module, which meant that he had to do a project centered on dance—a far cry from finance and accounting!!
“Try new things.”
“Think new ways.”
“It is very inexpensive to try something new now.”
These are just a few of Dr. Boss’s words of wisdom. He demonstrates a great deal of intensity and possesses great resources to help students. He wants the students he works with to know that he is there to help them be successful—not just as a professor handing out grades.
Although he started out wanting to catch passes from John Elway on the Denver Broncos, today Dr. Boss loves the freedom of entrepreneurship. He is a great resource, and if you are interested in working with him, shoot him an email at email@example.com.
The entrepreneurship students are the greatest example of why this program is great. We want to highlight them in our spotlight series to show how awesome and diverse they are.
Graduating this spring, Austin Stahl is a senior studying Journalism. However, unlike many students outside of the College of Business he is making the effort to add entrepreneurship to his resume. This Loveland Ohio native defines “Entrepreneur” as someone who can make big things happen with few resources. He says, “They are a little bit crazy, truly believe in what they are doing and are extremely good at blocking out the haters.”
Before deciding on the Entrepreneurship Certificate, Austin knew he wanted to go into business. His first thought was to pursue a business minor, but later he decided on the Entrepreneurship Certificate. He hadn’t taken any business courses when he added the Certificate, he just knew he liked the idea and wanted the business background.
“I want to go into business and was planning to add a business minor, and then I found out about the certificate and decided to pursue that instead. I liked its flexibility and the fact that it was a little bit different than a standard business education.”
He has big dreams for his future in energy after starting off in an entry level sales or marketing position. “Ideally I will work my way up the solar industry and become the Chief Marketing Officer at a larger solar company. That or involved as a co-founder of a startup in the clean energy space. “
From wanting to be a professional athlete to wanting to be a sports writer to a blooming clean energy entrepreneur, Austin is a prime example of what entrepreneurship is. It is the ability to have options and make your opportunities limitless.
The Ohio Center or Entrepreneurship hired new faculty this year. We want to highlight them in our spotlight series. Reach out to them and ask questions. Use these great people as resources for your future success.
Mr. Paul Benedict has a close relationship with entrepreneurship. Working in entrepreneurship for the past 14 years in some capacity from helping startups, to starting startups, to investing with Adena Ventures, he has had the chance to look at entrepreneurship from many angles with an emphasis on investing.
To him, entrepreneurship is about solving big problems, doing something different, trying something no one else has tried. He understands the importance of failing in the pursuit of trying something you’ve never tried before, but he will be there for students to help them learn from their mistakes. The goal is to do something great. Do something that is going to make someone’s life better or job easier.
However, that is not where he started. As a little kid he dreamed of one day playing first base for the New York Yankees, but as he said that dream was “crushed very quickly.” However, after baseball dreams and political ambitions he found his heart in entrepreneurship.
When asked, “What is one thing you want the students you work with to know about you?” He responded with, “The honest answer is that I love this [stuff]” (edited for content). He is very passionate about entrepreneurship and loves working with students. The creativity and the possibility for creation are what make his job worth it. He jokes about picture of the Titanic that read “Perhaps my purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.” He wants to help students learn from his mistakes in order to better facilitate their success.
The one piece of advice he’d give to OU students is to start something. Either to support a cause or for a profit, start something. Try to solve a problem, try to break stuff, try to do something crazy. See if you can pull it off. If you look at entrepreneurial teams that have been wildly successful, they start as friends. They use the deep trust and friendship to build from, and college is a great time to form those useful and meaningful bonds.
If you want to talk to Mr. Benedict you can reach him at this email Benedict@ohio.edu.
The Ohio Center or Entrepreneurship has student organizations that are a great way to learn and practice entrepreneurship. We want to highlight one of them in our spotlight series. Reach out to Consulting Fellows and ask questions. Taking part in this organization is a great way to get on the path to success.
Have you ever wanted to gain practical and applicable experience in consulting? Work with real world clients, outside of the classroom? Or feel that sense of fulfillment from completing and delivering a solution to a project? Ohio University Consulting Fellows (OUCF) is a student organization which helps develop students in their professional, interpersonal, and leadership skills through consulting. The fellows work on real consulting projects which vary on a wide range of topics and industries. In the past, OUCF has worked with companies operating in the food industry, the consumer goods industry, the non-profit industry, and the educational industry, amongst others.
Ohio University Consulting Fellows interacts with multiple clients and engages in multiple projects each semester. Each project is separated into teams, and the teams are assigned a client. The projects usually last close to one semester in length; however, are extended as necessary. The final deliverable is presented to the client, and, on most occasions, the client implements the recommendations delivered by the Ohio University Consulting Fellows.
Since there is no current consulting track within the College of Business the projects allow students to gain practical and applicable experience to prepare them for the consulting industry. This experience is directly translatable on a résumé to applicable years of experience. Many other schools do not offer this type of experience, with the exception of Ivy League and private institutions. There is no better place on campus to earn consulting experience and prepare you for a job in consulting. This experience blows away recruiters and employers. If you are even considering a job in consulting, this is an organization you should consider joining.
Currently the Ohio University Consulting Fellows are hiring and accepting applications. In order to apply please send a résumé and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.