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 and part of this team.
Matthew: I am Matthew Erdner, Data science major. I’m a junior here at the College.
Mads: And I’m Mads Nelson. I’m a finance and accounting major here at the College of Charleston and I’m a senior.
Henrik: How are you involved with entrepreneurship at the College of Charleston?
Jonathan: So through the ImpactX program, we’re actually working on a new venture. It’s pretty exciting. We’ve since pivoted says the last time that we spoke with you and it’s a pretty cool idea.
Matthew: Yeah. So as I say were involved with entrepreneurship obviously first and foremost through the ImpactX program at the business center and gives us a lot of great resources to bounce things off, bounce different ideas off different people, gained things, and just resources that we really need to kind of get our new venture growing, that kind of stuff.
Jonathan: So yeah, so when we’re focusing on with our current venture is a partnership for the goals, you know, SDG number 17. We’re tackling that through music and how we can help the people who are maybe struggling musicians are students who can’t afford musical instruments that were actually doing that with our new kind of venture is called AuxMe. It’s a way… it’s a bidding system for people who go to bars or clubs or shows. So they can choose the music that they want and kind of a competitive manner. And we’re really excited about it. Think of a Jukebox, but … it’s mobile and it’s biddable. Biddable? Is that a word? Yeah. That’s what we’re doing.
Matthew: Looking to drive competition amongst college markets, kind of targeting college bars, that kind of stuff. The younger generation, they’re more on their phone and that kind of thing, kind of plays right into their field.
Mads: While also giving more revenue to DJs and certainly musicians.
Matthew: And the way that we implement that is through a bidding system. So right now our model’s kind of starting off at $1 per bid for a song, and then kind of increments by a dollar. So like we said, we want to drive that competition amongst kids at the bar. Young adults I would say. So say they see their friend that at the top of the queue and they want to get above put in that extra money and get above them. And also with that, we’re trying to integrate Venmo into it. So it’ll be smooth and very easy for people to use. Like again, college kids are very adept to Venmo, they use that a lot. So it’s kind of a perfect fit with them.
Henrik: What are the successes and challenges with your venture to date?
Mads: I think our major success right now is the market itself. We’ve dove into this as a pivot and within 24 hours the responses that we’ve received an immense. We have over 61 subscribers already to our app and we have about five DJs that are known to our App and we’re just trying to get everyone involved and on board with our idea.
Matthew: Yeah, we’ve done a good bit of market research, almost 250 responses since the time we put out a survey. We’ve got pretty much 90 percent of people that we surveyed are excited and ready to already ready to download it. Tons of feedback too. Tons of suggestions on what people would like to see. And it seems like it’s very much in line with what we’re working on, which is good.
Jonathan: I would assume that the next few months or as this progresses that we could come into some legal trouble and trying to secure the idea, get provisional patents, all that stuff figured out. So just kinda the protection of the product before it actually gets to the market is one of the challenges that I could see coming up in the near future.
Henrik: What advice would you like to share it with future entrepreneurs that you’ve learned in this process?
Jonathan: Through this process, I’d say don’t be scared to pivot. Like last time we talked to you, we had a whole different idea, so it was kind of full 180. It’s never too late to pivot, so just kind of put your nose down and keep work and grind through it.
Matthew: Plus, I mean find something that you’re passionate about. We said that last time and I think that it wasn’t until we actually found something that we were genuinely excited about until we actually started getting a lot of work done in really being okay with spending a lot of time on a project.
Mads: I think my advice is definitely don’t be scared to take a gamble with these kinds of things. We definitely were scared a little bit with this idea just because it wasn’t the norm of impact until we really dove down into figuring out how we could impact the community and people around us with our company,
Matthew: And just to add one extra big thing. It’s kind of different than the normal perspective of making an impact. We think it’s important that you make sure that you can sell products and that you can sell something before you focus on not necessarily before you focus on the impact. Keep the impact in mind, but without selling, without making an actual influence in the market, you have no way of making an actual impact. So it sorta make sure that you balance it in such a way that you put yourself in a really good position to make that impact.
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.