When business meets technology, opportunities are created and implemented. James Verhoeff, Raikes School Class of 2014
It all started with a night on the town.
Last fall, Raikes School students James Verhoeff and Zach Christensen were dining out with friends when they realized they had forgotten their coupon cards. While frustrated by their forgetfulness, the two were also dumbfounded that in 2013 their coupon card had yet to go digital—they saw an opportunity. Following discussions with existing coupon programs, James and Zach made the decision to create a unique platform of their own.
On February 4, 2013, Pickit was launched.
Pickit is a mobile app that allows users to pick nonprofits they want to support, and every time they redeem a promotion offered by a Pickit merchant, half of Pickit’s commission gets donated to the nonprofit that user ‘picked’.
According to James, the decision to involve nonprofits was a no-brainer. “I have worked for a nonprofit for about a year, and Zach had originally wanted to start a nonprofit. It was a leap of faith to make this commitment, but we believe that faithful stewardship pays off…Pickit is about revolutionizing the way that nonprofits go about fundraising by making it part of your everyday transaction.”
James and Zach credit the faculty and staff of the Raikes School for their company’s initial success. “The Raikes School has been immensely helpful in this process by providing mentorship and advice. The Raikes School went as far as to give us an office for the year, tickets to Big KC and Big Omaha, printing for sales materials to explore new markets, consistent mentorship and advice—like how to do payroll and pay taxes, and huge help on the iPhone app. The Raikes School has opened more doors than I could ever have imagined.”
Today, Pickit’s client list has grown to 56 merchants and 28 nonprofit organizations in the greater Lincoln community. In March of 2013, James and Zach were awarded the grand prize at the 2013 UNL New Venture Competition receiving $50,000 to invest in Pickit. They have elected to use a portion of their winnings to take part in the Spring 2014 Design Studio—as a client.
“We’re really excited,” remarks James. “It feels like our dream is finally becoming a reality.”