Quinnipiac student tech start-up ‘Snippet’ earns $25K

By on March 8, 2012
What started as a class project earned $25,000 of funding in a statewide tech start-up competition.

A group of Quinnipiac students submitted its idea to Connecticut Innovations’ TechStart Fund, and was selected, along with eight other ideas, from a pool of 80 applicants.

Junior Erica Siciliano thought of the idea, Snippet, and seniors Jordan Brickman, Michael Ferris, Robert Goetze and Chris Thompson refined it to a website for photographers, videographers and visual artists to maintain an online portfolio. The team came together in the Media Innovation Collaborative Project, a class cross-listed as Journalism 300 and Management 471 at Quinnipiac.

Instructor of Journalism Brett Orzechowski and Assistant Professor of Management David Tomczyk co-founded the business plan competition course last spring.

In addition to the funding, the group commutes to New Haven to meet with the eight other groups. Brickman said he and group members met mentors who have entrepreneurial experience during Monday’s orientation day.

“The big thing they’re getting out of this whole experience is the networking opportunities, the interactions with other people, and the level of expertise they are interacting with on a daily basis. That’s huge,” said Tomczyk, reiterating what Ferris had told him. “The money? Other people are getting the money. That doesn’t matter.”

Each group made its pitch to the rest of the groups selected on Monday, creating a competitive atmosphere.

“I want to beat everyone, to have the best presentation for investors,” said Brickman, who added angel investors could help Snippet earn $100,000.

“What I really like about Snippet is we have a student who is a finance major, a sociology major, two journalism majors and one FVI major,” Orzechowski said. “I’m not sure how much more interdisciplinary with a media company you can get than that.”

The group has hired developer Noah Portes Chaikin, founder of a media marketing firm called 360W3, to create Snippet for the Web.

Snippet, as well as many of the rest of the groups in the class, plans to submit its business plan to the Connecticut Business Plan Competition in April and the course’s competition, which is open to previous semesters’ participants for the first time, Tomczyk said.

One student who participated in last spring’s competition, Anna Didio, is taking the class again this semester.

“I learned so much the first time around, but I didn’t get to use my idea,” the senior broadcast journalism major said. “I wanted to learn from my mistakes and use this class to try to develop my idea.”

While many people come up with ideas, they don’t always come to fruition, Orzechowski said.

“We want to bring it to life,” he said. “At the same time, there are so many people who sit on good ideas. A lot of it comes down to the initiative. Launching a business is one thing, actually getting it to work is another.”

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