Student entrepreneurs win with adventure travel concept

By Sue McMurray, Carson College of Business

startup-logoPULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University students who pitched their idea for an affordable adventure travel website hit a home run at the recent Startup Weekend Spokane.

Entrepreneurs competed to promote their business ideas and collaborate with developers and designers to create a viable project within 54 hours.

WSU seniors Amanda Scott (communication), Monica Bomber (chemical engineering) and Troy Carpenter (economics) won first place with their business plan for The travel website asks customers about the type of experience they’re seeking and their projected budget rather than catering to people who start with a location already in mind.

WSU’s winning team.

“About 50 percent of people using travel sites start by not knowing exactly where they want to go,” said Scott. “Our tagline is ‘Where will you go next?’’’

The students are in the Harold Frank Engineering Entrepreneurship Institute at WSU.

Go-KEFI earned three months of free office space, the chance to make a pitch to Spokane Angel Alliance investors and 40 hours of website development. The team aims to launch Go-KEFI by next year after a beta test catering to WSU students.

“One goal is to help WSU students who might have three-day weekends find great travel options right here in the state,” Scott said.

During the contest, nearly 50 individuals and teams made 60-second pitches to the group of more than 150 people. The crowd voted for their favorite business ideas, with the best 12 teams competing for the top three awards.

The chosen 12 recruited more team members from the crowd with the goal of assembling designers, product developers and people with business and coding experience. The 12 teams spent the weekend developing a working presentation.

Johnny Wang (communication) helped the Go-KEFI team, as did non-WSU students Joe Snodgrass, Kaitlyn Aliota, Stephen Johnson, Adam Parish and Alex Puryear.

The WSU Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, directed by Marie Mayes, sponsored the Go-KEFI team and seven other students in the WSU Enactus Club to attend the event.