Rensselaer Team Takes First Place at StartUp Weekend
Jake Schonberger '12 (Design/Innovation/Society), Rensselaer’s E*Ship Club member, and Kyle Brody '13 (Management), the club's president, along with Suni (Shelly) Wei MBA ’12 and a student from SUNY Oswego took first place at Troy’s first ever StartUp Weekend after working tirelessly for 54 hours on their concept. Their business, PayWMe, is a payment solution for groups of people.
The first platform they intend to use it on is the housing rental industry to solve the problem of multiple roommates providing a landlord one rent payment. PayWMe is an agreement among group members for repayment. One roommate pays the rent and PayWMe sends the other roommates a request for payment. This solution introduces the concept of social shaming to encourage users to pay up, or be labeled a “flakey friend." Brody and Schonberger were scheduled to compete in the RPI Business Plan Competition, but decided to hold off on competition until they honed their concept, based on feedback they received through coaching sessions in the initial stages. Their patience and hard work paid off with the $15,000 first place prize from StartUp Weekend.
Startup Weekend is an intense 54 hour event which focuses on building a web or mobile application which could form the basis of a credible business over the course of a weekend. The weekend brings together people with different skillsets - primarily software developers, graphics designers and business people - to build applications and develop a commercial case around them. Tech Valley StartUp Weekend took place from March 2 through 4 in downtown Troy with local sponsors, judges, mentors and speakers.