Special Reports

UPenn Students Successfully Sell Startup, Want To Help Other Students


Four University of Pennsylvania students were able to successfully sell a startup that they created out of a PennApps hackathon three years ago. The company's former CEO now wants to help college students launch their own business even while they are still studying.

Tech Crunch reported that ThirdEye, initially an add-on developed for Google Glass, has been acquired by TheBlindGuide for an undisclosed sum. Today, it is known as a mobile app.

The app created by UPenn students utilizes Google's Cloud Vision API to be able to recognize objects and read their descriptions aurally. Users also have the ability to takes photos of text which ThirdEye converts to speech.

UPenn students Rajat Bhageria, Ben Sandler, Daniel Hanover and Nandeet Mehta invested a lot of their time to leverage their student status and build relationships with organizations that support the visually impaired. They also spent a lot of time in developing their business plan and, ultimately, settled on a freemium model of $8 per month after a free trial and released a free model for international users.

According to Philly Voice, Bhageria is planning to launch his own venture fund named Prototype Capital. The company will be focused on college students across the nation who want to launch their own businesses.

He revealed that there are 10 universities in the network including Penn, Cornell, UCLA, Stanford and Berkeley, among others. He argued that current leaders in the market like Dorm Room Fund and Rough Draft Ventures are not adding much value to student founders.

The former ThirdEye CEO believes that very few resources are being given to student founders who are not from prestigious universities. He admitted that he understands the things that students need, especially with funding and legal help, because they have been there.

He cited Dell and Reddit, which were developed from the University of Texas - Austin and the University of Virginia, respectively, as prime examples of innovation that his competitors may miss if they did not establish a wider network of participating universities and colleges.

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