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Startup at Uni

Some time in 2021

Avish and I were aspiring entrepreneurs at the University of North Alabama. We met at the Generator - a facility for innovators, engineers, designers, etc. at our uni.

Around Sep 2022

We had an idea to work on NFC cards. We were surfing for a niche and decided to build NFC cards for student resumes since we had looked at Popl, Linq, Dot, etc. and thought the market for networking-type NFC was already saturated.

We came up with the name nTap. However, it matched with the stock ticker from the company NetApp so we spent 4 hours to find another name and decided to go with NFC Orange, then bought the domain

We applied to pitch at Idea Audition (hosted by Shoals Incubator) trying to go after the B2C and B2B model, and did not make it. However, we continued to work on our product.

Late Nov 2022

We were after the B2C model, trying to sell the cards to students and roaming around campus at night to stick flyers.

Late Dec 2023

We figured it was hard to go after B2C since they did not have the incentive to purchase the cards. We pivoted our product to B2B completely and decided that our uni should be our first customer.

It was difficult to talk to the head of the department so things got delayed and went downhill…

Christmas & New Year’s Eve

I was the sole programmer, so coding through the holiday was my motto.

Thanks to Mr. Steven Puckett, we built a NFC reader for recruiters that read our NFC Orange cards and save students’ info to their dashboard.

Feb 10 2023

We finally met with the Head of Sales Deparment and the Dean of College of Business and Technology at our uni to pitch him our product. They liked it and gave some feedback. The Dean said he would fund the project.

We took their feedback and after a week, we added new features.

Feb 21 2023

We purchased 100 printed NFC cards and they came out with the wrong color printed (this was the night before our first public launch). Avish was frustrated.

Later that night, some of the code did not work properly and a few hours spent fixing it. Then, we had to manually scan to write our URL to the NFC cards since we had not known how to do it more efficiently. We stayed up until 1 AM.

Feb 22 2023

We got 20 cards written for giving out.

4 PM: We did our first launch - a small one! A bit more than 20 students came to the info session. And, no one seemed to care about the color. They were hooked with the tech. So, game on until March 8th when we did our first NFC Orange reader trial with Boeing recruiter visit at our uni.

March 6 2023

We had another info session to distribute our NFC cards. This was the last session. I was in class hearing some friends talking about this digital resume cards. My expectation rose, not only me, Avish as well.

Here came 4 PM on a Monday. Two students came. We were disappointed as the Boeing Recruiter Visit was approaching. Not only that, our NFC reader was also unstable and loose. Need to fix it tomorrow with Mr. Puckett!

March 8 2023

The Boeing Recruiter Visit went well. One of the recruiters - Melissa Smalley - gave a compliment on the dashboard UI saying it was “user-friendly”. After that, we nervously waited for their feedback email and thought they might have forgotten. Finally, here is what they sent us.

Feedback email from Boeing

After the feedback, we added the search bar and prepared to launch more features.

~ To be continue…