COOKEVILLE – StorNow, an application that will act as “the Airbnb of the storage industry,” took second place at Tennessee Tech University’s 9th annual Eagle Works competition held on April 9, earning the team $2,500.
Jackson Schierling, a business management major from Hermitage, along with teammates Lorna Boston and Mystina Pruitt, came up with the concept of “a cheaper, more convenient way for individuals to store their belongings.”
The concept was for people who had extra space, such as an attic, basement, or garage, to be able to put that space up for rent as an alternative to storage units. People who needed storage could look on the app and find a place that suited their needs.
“We geared it toward college students and college towns,” Schierling said. “Especially those students who live in the dorms.”
Schierling said that when students move out of campus residence halls during the breaks, this will provide them a place for their belongings, so they don’t have to move them back to their parents’ home.
The team worked very closely with their professor, Ryan Matthews, to develop their idea. They took his special topics course on entrepreneurship this semester, and said they give Matthews a lot of credit for offering suggestions, helping them narrow down their ideas, and finding the one with the most potential.
“We started as just three seniors coming into a class together. Once we nailed down our idea, it was a breeze working with Lorna and Mystina,” Schierling said. “They were extremely motivated, did quality research and worked efficiently for the entire length of the project.”
He said their professor was really the one who pushed them to submit it to Eagle Works and the Eagle Works administration made it extremely easy every step of the way.
“Personally, I am glad I did it just to have that experience,” Schierling said. “I learned a lot from the whole process.”
Schierling said it was “nerve-wracking” to pitch their idea to the judges. They were confident in their pitch and business concept, but the judges had been looking over their business case for weeks.
“They could have any number of questions prepared for us, and we had no way of knowing what to expect,” Schierling said. “We prepared ourselves the best we could, and I’m very proud that our team was able to anticipate the majority of the questions they asked.”
There were so many great teams and ideas that were presented that day, according to Schierling. He said there were so many good pitches that they had no idea who would place over the others.
“It means a lot to win second place,” Schierling said. “We are extremely proud to earn a place amid such steep competition, and we are very grateful to the judges for their time and feedback.”
The team have not discussed the next steps for StorNow yet, they are still celebrating their successful pitch, according to Schierling. He said if they do decide to invest capital into StorNow, they will put it into getting their app development kick-started.
“Mack (Lunn) over at the iCube on Tech’s campus was extremely helpful in getting us projections and estimates for the costs of developing an app,” Schierling said. “Big thank you to Mack!”
They team also received the Dr. Wil Clouse Maverick Award. This award was provided by the Clouse-Elrod Foundation which has benevolently given a mini-grant to Eagle Works. This was in appreciation to the Tech students, staff and faculty for their efforts in developing the next generation of creative and innovative leaders. This award was presented by Clouse.