A year later, this UD student startup is positioning itself for growth beyond Newark
Backyard concert, the odd-job community app designed to help students earn money even when their school schedules preclude regular employment, found an audience among a population that isn’t particularly common for college startups: people elderly.
Newark, as a college town, is known to be populated with a large number of college-aged youth who live in dormitories, share houses, and generally support the retail and restaurant economy of the city. city. But, like any university town, they are only a part of the population. The city of Newark is home to many families, professionals and retirees.
Backyard Gig’s goal has always been to bring these two worlds closer together by having locals hire students for any odd jobs they might have, from mowing the lawn and shoveling snow to tutoring and to web design.
“One of the most popular tasks displayed in the backyard is the element of weeding and gardening,” said Shaun Gupta, who co-founded the platform with a classmate Shahroze Ali in 2020, when they were in their second year at University of Delaware. “We found that people need an extra helping hand with these tasks, especially the elderly who liked our site and the idea that it could help connect with people who can help them. accomplish their task. “
The web platform was developed with the help of several Entrepreneurship Horn programs such as VentureOn. This year Hen hatching, Horn’s annual pitch competition, gave her their biggest boost to date: the team won around $ 18,000 in cash and in-kind, Gupta said, which she used to develop her model. business and better understand the market.
Backyard Gig now looks what it looked like when it launched, but there are a few changes including the ads.
“We are now trying to generate our own income on the site through advertising, so we reached out to local businesses in the Newark area to see if they would be willing to place an ad on our site,” Gupta said.
Ultimately, he said, they plan to take a small percentage of every task done through the platform. Part of the challenge in getting to this point has been the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was difficult to navigate [the pandemic]”he said, noting that with the in-person campus closings last school year, the principle of hiring students to come to your home to help with household chores was called into question.” vaccine started rolling out and people got more comfortable with each other, and the university started to open up more, the pull was done and we hope to build on that this semester of fall, because it’ll technically be Backyard Gig’s first real semester back on campus with everyone here.
Despite the stumbling blocks of COVID, more than 100 tasks posted to the site since its launch, resulting in an estimated gross income of $ 14,000 for students. Overall, the platform now has around 400 users, which Gupta says is a combination of large Newark households, small businesses, and UD students.
As they move through their junior year, they are considering new features, such as an automated price generator to help job posters determine a fair price for a job, and hope to see enough growth over the course of the year. fall season to head to the VC. funding, which would be required for the platform to go beyond Newark.
“We hope to learn as much as possible this semester to see if it would be appropriate to expand Backyard Gig to other college towns in Greater Dover or Greater Philadelphia and seek venture capital funding to help with that,” said Gupta.