Local College Launches Startup Program

This past semester, the College of Charleston has launched a new program centered on helping students create technology focused startup ventures. The program is called the International Cross-curricular Accelerator for Technology (ICAT). The college is aiming to help fuel the growth of local startups here in the 'Silicon Harbor'.

Through funding from the Business and Computer Science schools at the college, the Entrepreneurship program has put together a select group of 24 for students for its inaugural launch. The students are made up of Liberal Arts majors, Business majors and Computer Science majors. The students formed teams of 3 with the goal of forming and launching a Lean Startup company or service which incorporates a technological product.

Each team works with selected mentors in the local Charleston, South Carolina area who have expertise in the technology startup climate as well as an attorney to help them form their individual team's LLC at the end of the semester. The class concludes with a pitch competition and the coveted prize of $10,000 and possible investment opportunities. Being in its first year, the College of Charleston is in some impressive company, with a program like this hosted at schools such as Standford and a few top-notch programs in the Ivy League arena.

I've had the pleasure of speaking with several students on one of the teams in the ICAT program. Nicholas Campbell is one of those students who formed a team with his two good friends Winslow DiBona and Zack Lambert. They are attempting to redefine the way that people share music.

"In today's world, there are plenty of outlets for people to listen to music, however we have found that there is no easy or fun way to share this music. Our product, Bonfiyah, lets you share music with your friends by creating a playlist with a social group (fraternity, sorority, sports team, etc.) and then rating music within the playlist to see who has the best taste. While in the development stage, we have already setup our LLC and have our seed investment in place.

Bonfiyah Logo

The competition aspect of this class has truly brought out the best in each of the 8 teams and has lead us to work not only hard, but smart, in achieving our goal of winning. Zack, Winslow and I do not shy away from the fact that there is competition in our market, we know execution is key and are prepared to be in this for the long haul as we anticipate success. The startup culture is about catering to the needs of a customer; Bonfiyah will incorporate the startup ideals by providing real value to real people, not anticipating success on an idea without a purpose of value.

As for Bonfiyah, we are anticipating to have our product on the Apple app store within the following 2 weeks, so tell your friends and family now about the coolest new way to share music with your social circles!" - Nicholas Campbell

I encourage you to check out Bonfiyah and follow their progress on the lead up to the pitch competition.

On April 28 the ICAT program will be teaming up with the Harbor Accelerator for a pitch event called the Charleston Accelerator Pitch Event (C.A.P.E.). All are welcome to attend this exciting event, so pick up some tickets because we hope to see you there.