Here is a recent Inc. Magazine list of ‘cool college start-ups‘, featuring students from Texas Christian, U of Houston, and UT Austin, who are inventing the future (or at least a steady source of income for themselves) by launching companies in their spare time.
Brent Skoda drew on his experience as a high-level amateur baseball player to start CollegeFitness.com, a social networking site for students hoping to drop the “freshman 15” and more. The free site, which is supported by ads from sporty companies like Under Armour and Everlast, has 12,000 members, who turn to it for workout videos, diet planners, a weight-loss tracker, and the like.
Whitney Williams showed a knack for design and business from an early age. In elementary school, she fashioned her own stationery and sold it door to door. Later, she started a business selling purses swathed in laminated photos from magazines. During her freshman year of college, after being inspired by artisans she encountered on a trip to Italy, she started a jewelry business called Tramonti, the Italian word for sunset. After two years selling primarily through trunk shows — the pieces range from $30 to $300 — Williams set up an e-commerce site last year (tramontibywhitney.com).
University of Houston
Alfonso Olvera was deep into technology by the time he was 6, and within a year of coming to this country at 15 from his native Mexico City, he started a computer-repair business. His current business, RailTronix, sells a Web-based software system that helps rail shippers in the oil industry keep track of their valuable shipments in real time. With no employees (though he outsources some of the coding work to a Mexican firm), Olvera produced revenue of $250,000 in his first year.
Chrissie Harsh started selling baked goods to raise money for a high school orchestra trip. She raised $700 — and built a loyal following in the process. When she arrived at college, she continued to bake, and word of her cookie prowess spread. Today, hungry classmates can order Finger-Lickin Peanut Butter and Cranberry White Chocolate Chip cookies online or request custom ingredients.
Check out the full list!