In September 2020, twin brothers Sean and Justin Regis '23 began working on an app that would help personal shoppers who shop for others on platforms such as Instacart and Shipt complete their lists more efficiently.
Relying on indoor mapping technology and wayfinding (blue-line navigation similar to Google Maps GPS), the app would allow a shopper paying a subscription of $2.99 to choose a store, make a list and then navigate the store.
The economic majors took a significant step in bringing Quicshop to market Thursday as winners of Union’s latest version of a pitch competition. The top prize includes $15,000 in startup capital. The prize money is a gift from an anonymous donor.
Flash, a one-click ecommerce app, was runner-up. Founders Luodi Wang, Aaron Carretero and Haba Kiza, all members of the Class of 2025, collected $2,500 in startup capital.
Seven teams of students got three minutes each to pitch their ideas to a panel of alumni judges in the Reamer Campus Center auditorium. The students then took questions from the judges.
The students were among the inaugural class of SparkLab, a six-week entrepreneurial initiative created by Roger Woolsey, executive director of the Becker Career Center.
The group heard from accomplished alumni and outside experts about basic business principles, including market sizing, corporate and tax structures, and fund-raising.
They spent the final days leading up to the competition on their pitch decks - a 10-12 slide presentation that provides a short summary of a company, the business plan and the startup vision - is critical to attract potential investors.
As expected, some of the pitches were more polished than others. Some struggled to explain their concept. However, all gained valuable experience in ways to attract potential investors.
“All of them took risks,” Woolsey said after the final team made its pitch. “These students were the test for what we want to do here at Union with entrepreneurship and it is a testament to their fortitude to stick with it.”
In announcing the winner, one of the four judges, Thomas Coleman ’88, provided constructive feedback to the students.
“All of the ideas were really interesting,” said Coleman, co-founder and co-president of Kensico Capital Management Corporation and a member of the College’s Board of Trustees. “Some of them are tougher to execute commercially, especially on the scale that you started and the talent levels you have relative to the objective. But keep going.”
Other judges included Catharine Potvin ’97, founder and CEO of Stragility LLC; Michael Esposito ’72, a strategic advisor; and Tony Versaci ’91, managing director of Black Diamond Capital Management.
In selecting Quicshop as the winner, Coleman said the judges felt it had a realistic market need and that the students had done solid work in identifying deficiencies in the market and how to address those. He also noted that they have already lined up a retailer near their hometown of Cedar Grove, N.J,. to test their idea.
“You have the full package,” Coleman said. “You can actually have a product up and running by the end of the summer.”
The twins both play guard on the men’s basketball team. Many of their teammates came out to support them during the pitch competition.
Sean said they would use $3,000 of the prize money for marketing, $7,000 for map integration and scaling and $5,000 for coding costs.
“I’m very excited for this opportunity and happy to have my best friend on my side,” he said, nodding to his brother.
“We thought we had a good idea,” Justin said. “We are glad the judges thought so as well.”