Tuesday, October 29, 2013

CAS Student Ethan Lew Creates Online Marketplace for Colleges

Many of us have used Craigslist to buy and/or sell any number of household items, but a new website by NYU student Ethan Lew called Jigitt brings a similar online marketplace specifically to college campuses. We asked Ethan some questions about his website which has already been rolled out to NYU, Brandeis, Baruch, and UT Austin.  

What are you studying at NYU?

I am currently an econ major in CAS, minoring in web design.
How did you come up with the idea for Jigitt?

I came up with Jigitt, after walking the halls and cafeteria at my old college, Bates college. I transferred here as a sophomore and brought the idea with me. I saw that there was a big demand for a platform where students could buy and sell their used stuff.
Where did the name come from?

Jigitt is a coined term, a word that i made up. I wanted my websites name to be catchy, short and something a word that could adopt the definition of my company/ 
How many people do you have working on the site and do you monitor the posts that are submitted?

I have 3 other team members working on the site, a developer, designer, and marketer. Posts are reviewed after they are posted by our team, and we are currently looking into building a filter for posts to be ready when traffic on our site builds up. 

What is your plan for expanding Jigitt to other schools?

Jigitt recently launched at Baruch college and then will expand to other NYC universities and colleges soon. In about two months, Jigitt will expand out of New york, starting with California, my home state where I have many friends and connections who are willing to help spread the word. 

What are some of the biggest challenges you have been faced with while creating the platform?

The biggest challenge we have is getting people to post. Everyone loves searching but not everyone has the time to post an ad so we are looking into ways to make the posting process even faster than it already is.
Right now, anyone can create an account and be a part of the community. Do you have plans to allow access only to students in the future?

Yes we do! In the near future, we are going to make some of Jigitt's categories limited to only users with a NYU email or .edu verification. For example, only NYU students would be able to view all categories and post in all categories but non verified users would only be able to post in categories and not view whats posted by others. This would limit non verified users from seeing NYU events, parties, and social gatherings that are only intended for NYU students

What has the response been so far? 

The response has been very positive, with nearly 8,000 visits in less than 3 weeks and over 100 returning visitors every day at least!
Have you been involved with the CAS Entrepreneurship Association? Are there any other university resources that you have used or plan on using?
I am currently getting involved with some of the entrepreneurship centers on campus, including tech@NYU, and I am going to reach out to CAS Entrepreneurship Association this week.
How can our alumni help you to spread the word and grow the site? 

Alumni can help spread the word by visiting my site, emailing it to their kids, kids friends, and generally spreading the word by mouth. I also have a Kickstarter campaign launching soon for Jigitt as well as a professional video being posted on my campaign to easily explain my website!

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