In March, I profiled the father and son team of Rajesh and Keshav Patel behind the startup company MeritBooster. MeritBooster is a site that allows youths who want to accomplish or learn something start “projects” so that people can donate to the cause. I caught up with them to see how things have progressed.
What progress has been made since March?
Since we last spoke, we have surveyed over 200 youths, 25 teachers/youth groups leaders, and 50 parents regarding what they would need from MeritBooster. We’ve also finished building our core functionality and we just went live with youth projects a couple of weeks ago. We are learning exactly what tools we need to provide to help young people be successful using crowdfunding. For example, one aspiring young woman we met, Alyssa, from New Haven, really wants to become a pilot. She is passionate about aviation and is using MeritBooster to raise funds to pay for her flight training. For every hour of flight time that gets funded, she will be doing two hours of community service, and she is letting her Boosters give input into where she will do the service. In just four days she raised over $800 towards her goal.
Keshav, what have you learned about starting a business now that you’re further along in the process?
Wow, there are so many things I’ve learned! For example – how to start an LLC, get set up with the IRS, open accounts with banks (lots of paperwork – this is the boring stuff and it turns out a 14-year-old can’t sign for most of it). I’ve gotten a lot of practice in pitching our business idea – from a 30 second pitch when someone asks me “what is MeritBooster” to a 7-10 minute pitch for investors. One key thing I’ve learned is to always do a tech-check before making an important pitch, and even if you have a technical glitch, it’s not about the slides – it’s about you, so just keep talking.
Rajesh, what have you learned about your son during this time?
I am constantly amazed at the focus and dedication that he has shown. Once a week or so I put on my “dad hat” and check in with him to make sure he is still motivated and interested in continuing. He has been steadfast in his desire to see MeritBooster succeed. He’s 14 and still loves playing PS3 on weekends, but I’ve seen him rise to the challenge and practice all weekend when we have an important pitch or meeting. I’ve learned that Keshav has a natural speaking ability – a skill that will serve him well in the future. Keshav told me just the other day that, a year ago, he had no idea what he wanted to do for a career, but now, because of Startup Weekend and TechStart, he knows that he wants to be an entrepreneur. He has begun reading business news on his own and trying to learn as much as he can about the customer development process. It’s really great to see him develop his vision of what he wants to accomplish in the future.
MeritBooster is now live and is actively looking for youths or youth groups who would like to start projects to try to raise funds.
- -- ADVERTISEMENT --
Digital Happenings in Connecticut
May 2013 M T W T F S S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
- jason farr on Living Social Information Breach Investigated By AG
- evan on Study: Connecticut In Tech Top 10 Among States
- bessy on Did You Change Your Profile Pic To Support Same Sex Marriage?
- linda on Did You Change Your Profile Pic To Support Same Sex Marriage?
- Paul on Did You Change Your Profile Pic To Support Same Sex Marriage?
- -- ADVERTISEMENT --