Photo courtesy of www.kanu.us | The Kanu app allows students to post tasks which can then be completed by fellow students for payment.
Last October, two sophomores at the University of Rhode Island began working on a networking app called Kanu, which is set to be released in early to mid-October.
Andrew Bikash and Ben Grossman created the networking program Kanu, for students to help their peers. The Kanu team plans to release the application on the App Store for iPhone users and the Google Play Store for Android users.
As business majors, Bikash and Grossman were inspired to create their own business and to help foster what they describe as an entrepreneurial spirit among their URI peers. Bikash describes the founding of the app as “an entrepreneurial brainstorming session.” Eventually, they hope Kanu will spread to other college campuses.
The two entrepreneurs are thrilled that URI students will have the chance to be the first to test the new sharing economy app Kanu—a blending of the words can and you, stylized as “kan” and “u.”
Kanu intends to help provide a platform for favors by providing payment methods, geolocation and review rating. According to Grossman, this will be done in an effort to “create a social media economy.”
One half of the application is titled “Spend” and allows users to filter through listings made on campus with reviews, ratings and location. The “Earn” mode allows users to auction their services to others while setting their own price range and selecting the highest bid.
“The motto that we use on our site is friends helping friends,” App Co-Founder Ben Grossman said. “If you need something done there are people available to you. This app gives anybody of any discipline or interest in the platform to market their ideas, grow their brands, grow clubs, on a centralized platform. It’s about being more social with your community.”
Professor Nancy Forster-Holt, an early advisor to Bikash and Grossman’s project described their business approach as patient and methodical.
“They did so much right, and it impressed me,” Foster-Holt said. “The two had over sixty plus interviews with students, to get to the bottom of this problem they foresaw and saw who else had that problem.”
Martin Naro, a recent URI graduate, and non-profit Co-Founder, mentored Bikash and Grossman through the early stages of their product development. He remains optimistic that Kanu will find success at URI.
“Kanu is a great idea, providing work opportunities to students is great,” Naro said.
Naro adds Grossman and Bikash will need, “mass influence in order to get the application moving with momentum. Partnerships with schools, local businesses and school organizations may be their best bet to get the traction to require to catapult into the stage of the startup.”
In addition to the app, Bikash and Grossman plan to create a Kanu “Rowers” club. The idea behind this club is to bring hopeful entrepreneurs together to work on a collaborative app, then to market the product to others on campus.