OwlSpark | Rice University Startup Accelerator | TeamWise: Bidly
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TeamWise: Bidly

Bidly has designed an app to help its college affiliated users buy and sell gently used items. Bidly is made up of recent Rice University graduate and former football player Paine Matiscik, rising juniors and current football players Dylan James, Nahshon Ellerbe, and Anthony Ekpe, and rising junior Krishna Goel. The team has a handful of academic concentrations, including sports management, kinesiology, computer science, and business. Along with their impressive array of academics, they have outside interests in football (as you may have guessed), piano, art, guitar, and learning to cook. Their positive and lighthearted team dynamic can be sensed even after a few seconds of talking to them. “They get me,” is the phrase most heard when asking the team what they like best about each other.

We keep it light. We can walk up {to present to the cohort} and get {our presentation} torn apart and still be happy and smile about it. We keep it fun and still hold each other accountable and accomplish goals.

The idea for Bidly came to Paine while on a trip to Australia where he saw a similar item selling company that used more secure features because they were marketing to pre-teens and teenagers. Bidly differentiates themselves from other selling apps by creating what they believe to be an app with more peace of mind. In order to use Bidly, you must have a .edu address, much like the early days of Facebook. The .edu address, they found through their customer interviews, provided other students and college faculty an extra layer of safety. With Paine’s recent graduation, the ability to have a person working full-time on the app and company meant that this was the perfect time to begin.

Each member of the team has been drawn to entrepreneurship. Paine reminisces about his early days at Rice University, selling dorm room fridges, and finding Kerri Smith to help him learn the correct way of going about his business. Everyone on the team has a shared interest in starting their own company, and Bidly became a pathway to start. The founders each have different ideas geared toward personal interests, and with the knowledge gained from the OwlSpark experience, they believe they will be able to launch their own ideas in the future.

As for the collective group, their hopes for Bidly in the future are all the same. 365 days from today, they aim to be at most schools in the Southern United States, both big and small. In the eyes of the founders, if Bidly reaches that goal in 365 days, then they’ve accomplished something that not many apps do.

For Bidly, the most exciting thing so far is anticipating their upcoming launch in the Apple App Store. Their app goes live this week, so keep your eyes peeled! Going from the concept of a product, to finally having a finished product that people wanted is another exciting feat for Bidly. Along with the excitement, of course, comes challenges. With football season quickly approaching, some of the founders will soon be partially occupied with long days in the gym and on the field. In the upcoming days, their biggest challenge is creating a system and plan for how to continue working on the app with the remainder of the team largely responsible for the beginning weeks of the launch.

It’s one thing for a customer to say they want something, but it’s another thing for them to actually use what they said they wanted.

Bidly is looking forward to the rest of OwlSpark, the launch of their app, and their future endeavors. Over the span of this summer, they hope to gain the knowledge and confidence to know how to start a business from the ground—the right way—and be able to replicate the process in the future. We are excited for their launch, and excited to see where they go in the next few weeks and beyond!