How I spent my summer vacation

Teams in the 2019 Summer Startup Sprint got a head start on entrepreneurship

Summer Sprint

Students who participate in the Summer Startup Sprint discover whether they have viable business models and present their findings

Finals are over, and the breezes are balmy: it would be natural for any student’s thoughts to turn to lounging near a crystalline body of water or strolling a cobblestone street in some sun-drenched European capital. But students participating in NYU’s Summer Startup Sprint, including several from Tandon, chose instead to spend two weeks at the Leslie e-Lab on Washington Square engaging in customer discovery, honing their entrepreneurial ideas, and learning the next steps to getting a fledgling business of the ground.

“I honestly cannot think of a better use of our time,” said Marnix Heuker of Hoek (’19), the co-founder of RedCapper, a startup that aims to solve the problem of misleading photo-based real estate listings by offering virtual-reality tours of properties instead. “We originally wanted to market the service to brokers, thinking that they’d appreciate a chance to showcase their listings in a cutting-edge way, but during the customer discovery phase, we found that it was potential renters who were most interested, since it cut down on the number of time-consuming in-person visits they were making to unsuitable places. That was a very valuable thing to learn as we move forward with our business plan, so we were very happy to have remained at NYU instead of heading off to a more typical vacation destination.”

In addition to RedCapper, other teams with Tandon members included:

  • Chorebug, which provides a web platform that connects high-school students looking for part time work to community members near them for help with odd jobs.
  • Exchange, providing a marketplace where tech job seekers and universities can access technical interview training services from software engineers.
  • Miranda, developers of AI-powered automation software that allows independent insurance agents to save time and sell more by digitizing their front-desk and facilitating automated interactions with their customers, giving them a single dealing point for insurance.
  • Novelty Interactive, creators of a platform that uses narrative storytelling to help students master the relationship between letters and sounds – something that can be particularly hard for those with dyslexia and other language-based learning challenges.

The 2019 Summer Sprint was made possible by the generous support of National Science Foundation, grant number IIP-1644681.