Listen to the ImpactX Podcast interview with Matthew Erdner, Madeline Nelson and Jonathan Brakefield discuss their startup venture called AuxMe in the ImpactX Accelerator Program at the College of Charleston. You can also read the transcript below.
Henrik: This is the ImpactX Podcast. I’m Henrik de Gyor, Technical Entrepreneur [In Residence] at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. This series of podcasts, I’m going to be interviewing students and professors from the ImpactX accelerator inside the Business School at the College of Charleston. You’ll hear from the professors who run the program as well as all the students in each team participating in the accelerator. Each team comprises of a business student, a liberal arts student, and often a computer science student for a purposeful friction with different perspectives on the same problem that they’re trying to solve as a business. One of the unique aspects of the ImpactX accelerator program is the use of the UN sustainable development goals that are required for every venture by the ImpactX program so that you can make a profit while making an impact. Each team was interviewed a number of times as there are venture progresses, and now onto the interview.
Henrik: Who are you and what do you do?
Jonathan: I’m Jonathan Brakefield. I’m a marketing major here at the College of Charleston and I’m part of the AuxMe Team.
Matt: I’m Matt Erdner. I’m a data science student here at the college as well as part of the AuxMe team.
Mads: And I’m Mads Nelson, I’m an accounting major at the college. Also part of the AuxMe Team.
Henrik: So congratulations on finishing your pitches a few days ago. Tell us how are you involved with ImpactX and what you’ve learned so far?
Matt: We’re involved with ImpactX because we were one of the startups or like impact for companies to develop in their incubator. So right now we just finished up the program and are now alumnus of the program of ImpactX. So right now we’re kind of wrapping up things for this semester, finishing up stuff that we needed to do for AuxMe. Kind of tie that up and get ready for January and get things squared away for winter break.
Henrik: And what were your successes and challenges with ImpactX to date?
Mads: So if you’d follow along with our story from the very beginning, we’ve pivoted twice and it led us to our true passion of AuxMe. Our success is our near 600 subscribers just waiting to hit the market, which is really amazing. We also have four partner DJs as well, that and also just waiting for AuxMe to hit the market. They’ve already agreed to integrate with us as soon as we have our development finished, which is really pretty amazing and venues who are waiting for us to have launch parties and stuff at their venues.
Matt: Some of the things that we kind of struggled with or still kinda currently struggling with are, you know, just getting the [AuxMe] App process, getting the development process started, getting all those things kind of figured out and the best way of doing that as well.
Henrik: What advice would you like to share with future entrepreneurs and ImpactX cohorts after you that you’ve learned in this process?
Jonathan: Don’t underestimate how much time you should spend on something that you’re passionate about because this is a thing you’re gonna think, oh, it’s just the three hours spending in class on Monday and Wednesday, but if you really enjoy it, it should be more than that. You should be like super excited. I was going to say giddy. Be super excited to text your group chat about like something awesome that you found out or if you’re not, then you’d probably working on the wrong project and, so definitely figure that out as early as possible. But you know, that’s hard to do, but definitely don’t be afraid to pivot until so you find that.
Mads: Yeah, definitely find people that you’re working with have been really fortunate because we have clicked since day one. We didn’t know each other. I don’t know about… You’ll didn’t know each other, right? None of us knew each other before and don’t really truly been friends had it not been for ImpactX because we all run in different crowds. So that’s a really cool thing, but it’s definitely has set teams back is not getting along and not being totally transparent with each other. And I think that’s what’s really got us to the point where we were just super close, which is cool.
Matt: Yeah. And then what I would kind of tell the people coming in is take advantage of the experience because the way that this program is set up, there’s not a lot of colleges or programs even at this college that offer this kind of thing, so really like, go full throttle, go diving in and go after everything. You’re going to get a lot of connections through this. Make sure you develop those connections, stay with those connections so you keep them and you’ll develop a lot of great friendships, learning experiences. Just don’t really take it for granted is what I would say. Stay tuned for the AuxMe Development and launch parties.
Henrik: We hope you enjoyed listening to the ImpactX podcast. For more about the ImpactX program, visit impactx.cofc.edu. Don’t forget to rate, review and subscribe to hear about future episodes. Thanks for listening.