Necter (Now, Conecter) is “Your go-to campus connector.”
Students want to be social. They want to do the things they love and connect with others who love doing the same things. But when you’re attending a school like MSU, with so many other students, connecting with people that share similar interests can seem overwhelming. It may seem easy to find students that want to connect while eating, studying, or working out, but it’s hard to know where to start.
Necter connects student. A user simply creates an event, and other users get rewards by attending those events.
The Problem Being Solved:
On a large campus, like Michigan State University, it can be difficult for students to find their niche. Necter helps students meet others with similar interests while promoting healthy lifestyles.
Where the Idea Came From:
The ladies of Necter met on a study abroad in a London and connected through a shared research project. After realizing how well they all worked together, they began bouncing ideas off of each other. Zoe had the idea of an application to help students and eventually the idea of Necter was born.
“Whenever we bounce ideas off each other, we create something extraordinary, ” says Zoe. They worked together to create sketches and decided they wanted something that would fulfill the needs of students and help them meet new people. After bouncing the idea off a few people, they were directed to the Hatch and the Creativity Exploratory in the College of Arts and Letters.
Zoe is excited to give students the opportunity to collaborate, and get rewards for interacting with other driven students. “Collaborating with other students pushes them to reach their maximum potential and allows for creative discoveries.”
Students at Michigan State University.
Brittney says their biggest challenge has been doing everything with only three people. “We didn’t realize how much of our time a startup would entail,” she says. The ladies all work full-time and are balancing working, being students, and running a startup. “Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but it has been worth it.”
“And,” adds Zoe, “We are very lucky because we have incredible mentors who truly believe in us and our idea, and with their help we have been able to take this idea and make into a reality.”
The team has learned how intricate back-end development is and how making ideas into a functional app is extremely complicated. Zoe adds, “We have also learned that an app is completely useless unless it is user-friendly and intuitive.” Creating something in a very creative industry, they learn something every day through extensive research on mobile application development, user experience, and pre-existing apps.
Necter has received funding from Spartan Innovations, the Hatch, and the College of Arts and Letters. They will be competing next week in Techweek’s Launch Competition during TechWeek Chicago. “The Launch Competition is for startups across the country, and we honored to be a part of it,” says Zoe. “Not only are we competing for a grand prize of $50,000, we have an amazing opportunity to meet and collaborate with some of the up and coming startups in the tech industry.”
In the next year, Necter would like to see their app fully functional and being used by students all over Michigan State’s campus. In three years, they hope to have expanded the app so that every student in the Big10 has the opportunity to connect with students via Necter. In five years, they would like Necter to be a recognizable name at universities across the country.
Brittney’s advice to young entrepreneurs is to put yourself out there. “You can’t take no for an answer. If you truly believe in your idea, you have to be willing to take a risk and put yourself and your idea out there. You won’t get anywhere unless you do.” She also urges them to prepare to rejection. You also need to learn how to handle rejection and criticism. “We have had a lot of people tell us no. While it isn’t fun, it has helped us. When someone tells you no, there’s a reason for it. Ask for feedback on your idea. Feedback is priceless.”
Zoe’s advice is to understand that “ideas are cheap,” a sentiment taught to them by their first mentor Jeff Grabill. “Combine a lot of cheap ideas into an elegant and innovative product.”