Alumni Branford Rogers and Darius Wynn, both members of the Class of 2012, were back on campus this term to work with the Entrepreneurship Senior Seminar regarding their startup, a ticketing app named Passioo.
"We have a strong passion for sports, music, and entertainment and we want to give people access to those things up close and personal," explained Rogers. "The athletes and performers are following their passions and the customers are awarded a ticket to see their passion, which led us to starting Passioo, which is also the Latin root for 'passion.'"
The app provides high schools and local organizations with digital tickets, which in turn results in shorter lines and more convenient service for all. Through the app users can share tickets with each other on the go, and see lists of events their friends are attending.
"We are hoping the seminar students will provide us with fresh ideas and perspectives," noted Wynn. "We want to give back to the students and the community and show students that there is no need to wait to do what you want to do or work the conventional nine-to-five job. You have the tools to be successful now. It's about resourcefulness, not resources."
Rogers and Wynn both enjoyed guest speakers during their time at the School, but rarely were these visitors aged thirty or younger and so they wanted to share their story with students as an example of a startup being conducted by two young alumni.
"My advice to students would be to do what you love and to be patient," said Rogers. "One of my favorite quotes is by Bill Gates, and it goes 'a lot of people overestimate what can be done in a year and underestimate what can be done in ten.' Don't wait for the perfect opportunity or until you're 'ready,' do what you want right now and prove the naysayers wrong!"
Rogers and Wynn will continue to work with Entrepreneurship students throughout the fall, providing them the opportunity to make community connections and learn from their journey. As part of the class, students are advising Rodgers and Wynn on ways to grow their fledgling start up.
Ultimately, the Senior Seminar will lay the groundwork for a student-run enterprise at St. Anne's-Belfield School. Facilitated by Mr. Adam Colombo and Mr. Warren Buford, the seminar leads students in exploring methods for successful venture development, such as Lean Start Up and Business Model Canvas. Students will become equipped to author the mission and vision for their new enterprise.
"When looking for ideas about how to best arm students with the skills needed for venture development, I wanted to ensure they interacted with local businesses that were doing this same work right here in Charlottesville," noted Colombo. "It has been a pleasure to connect with Darius and Branford as the work our students are doing with Passioo is a truly authentic way of learning about entrepreneurial endeavors."
To learn more about Passioo, visit www.passioo.com and follow the Passioo business page on LinkedIn. Rogers and Wynn are looking to take on new team members and encourage those interested to get in touch.
To learn more about the Entrepreneurship seminar and other Upper School courses, please view the Upper School Curriculum Guide.