It’s almost September. Time for football, back to school and, if you’re a student, moving in and out of dorms. Which means lots of trips to Meijer. Unless, of course, you want to save some money while doing good.
Founded out of Northwestern University, Move In, Move Out (MIMO) is a nonprofit startup that helps people find the things they need when moving into their dorm and dispose of it when moving out. As a nonprofit, all of their profits go to charity.
Here’s how it works: When it’s time to move out of your dorm or apartment and you have stuff you just can’t take with you, you can donate it to MIMO. MIMO will pick it up for free and store it until the following semester. Then, at the beginning of the next semester, they’ll sell the used stuff to incoming students who can use it. And (bonus!) all of MIMO’s profits go to charity.
They launched in May when students moved out and are ready for the new semester.
Founded at Northwestern by: Steven To
MSU Founder: Kevin Ye
Where the idea came from:
When Steven, the founder, saw all the stuff his fellow students had accumulated just sitting in an apartment lobby, it inspired him. Kevin Ye knew Steven through a mutual friend and had also been experiencing the same problem: too much stuff and nowhere to put it, since he was a freshman. The two connected, had a conversation, and Kevin became the founder of the MSU team.
The problem being solved:
When students can’t find an easy way to get rid of their stuff, it ends up getting thrown away. Since students move a lot, this creates an incredible amount of waste. MIMO wants to reduce this waste, save students time and money, and provide services and products at a low cost.
Kevin says it’s exciting knowing that there is absolutely an opportunity and market for this since schools all across the country have the same problem. It’s also the same for young professionals that have to move a lot. MIMO definitely stands out since other similar organizations don’t offer pickups.
Their biggest challenge so far has been finding an effective way to spread the word about their services. “We are doing a little bit of everything,” says Kevin, but they haven’t discovered what works best.
One way they are working to overcome this is by providing sponsorship to different student organizations just to get their name out there. “We are confident we can overcome it,” says Kevin.
MIMO is a self-sufficient nonprofit that will soon be 501(c)(3) certified; their revenue from sales covers their operating costs. Any additional profits are donated to a local charity and are chosen by each team in the Spring.
Since they are non-profit, they are always on the lookout for funding options. They have entered some pitch competitions, worked with the Hatch and got some funding from Northwestern branch which is already up and running.
MIMO would like to expand to more schools in the Midwest and within one year have 3-5 more schools. They currently have a team at the University of Michigan that has not yet launched.
Kevin’s advice to new entrepreneurs is; “Work really hard, give 110 percent; It takes a lot of work to be successful.”