Kevin Li and Johnathan McGowan saw classmates jotting down notes on their textbooks. The only problem was that the pen marks ruined their costly books.
Li, who is studying computer information systems, and McGowan, a second-year management and human resources major, saw a niche and devised a product that allows students to take notes on their books and also protect the value of their texts.
The College of Business Administration entrepreneurs founded TakeNote Global, the manufacturer of ultra-thin sheets of plastic with a low-tack pressure adhesive on one side and a proprietary film that allows notes to be written on the surface.
McGowan says the sheets will be available during the spring quarter at the Bronco Bookstore. Packages containing 50 sheets are priced at $9.99.
Assembled shortly before the 2016 Bronco Startup Challenge, Li and McGowan were in the group of 10 finalists competing for $10,000 in seed money. Although they fell short of winning, the contest had its upsides.
“The Bronco Startup Challenge offered us a way to validate as well as receive feedback on our product,” says McGowan, who also made a valuable contact while preparing for the event. “The [Student Innovation Idea Lab] has been most helpful to us and the other teams – we have been able to find mentors as well as seek legal counsel.”
The iLab is housed in the College of Business Administration and supports student creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. Ericka Olguin of the iLab said the staff assisted TakeNote Global in securing the Bronco Bookstore as a client.
In a little more than a year, Li and McGowan evolved their idea into a product that will help students sell back their unmarked books for top dollar at the end of the quarter. Their aim is to take the product to large retailers.
“Short-term, we want to launch the product and finish development of our note-taking collaboration sharing software,” McGowan says. “Long-term, we want to reach more schools, put our resource division into full implementation and start building more services to help students succeed.”