Rob Falcone Eng. ’09 and MBA ’11 was recently quoted in Forbes magazine in an article (http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2010/0809/entrepreneurs-dreamit-economic-development-startup-juice.html) about DreamIt Ventures, a seed fund firm that is working with Falcone, on developing his new business venture, Campus Sponsorship (www.campussponsorship.com).
Campus Sponsorship is a Web-based business that allows student groups to earn money for their organizations based on their interaction and participation with the website sponsors. Campus Sponsorship earns revenue via a revshare basis. According to Falcone, the idea for the business was born out of his own experience as a student challenged with fundraising.
“College kids always struggle to find ways to fund raise, and these ways are often very inefficient, such as using collection cans or conducting car washes,” says Falcone, who works on the venture with partners, Dan Levin and Tony Colantonio. “At the same time, advertisers are trying to reach this market, and they also have inefficient means of targeting students, such as passive ads on Facebook, etc.
“We’re the bake sale of the 21st century,” he continues. “Students can raise money by interacting with brands, playing games, and by taking surveys. For their guaranteed attention, students get a guaranteed donation.”
Currently, Campus Sponsorships has two sponsors for the website and several student groups, but he’s looking to add more.
“It’s a chicken and the egg thing,” Falcone says. “Should we try to get more sponsors or students to sign up first?”
Of the 500 applications submitted to Dream It Ventures, Falcone’s business concept was one of 14 applications chosen in DreamIt’s highly competitive process and the only Philadelphia-based company in the summer incubator. The company provides start-ups with funding and business consulting support by a highly experienced team comprising successful entrepreneurs and lawyers. In return for the start-up money and support, DreamIt Ventures takes 6 percent of the company’s ownership, a small price Falcone says for the opportunity to develop his concept and have access to the knowledge and experience of the successful entrepreneurs who manage DreamIt.
Currently, Falcone and his partners are preparing for Demo Day, a one-day business event in which entrepreneurs have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to venture capitalists and lawyers looking for sound investment and business opportunities.
“We’re very excited about this opportunity,” Falcone says. “DreamIt has been so helpful to us. Hopefully, the event will be fruitful, but at the same time, we’ve learned to operate very lean, and we’ll keep working toward our goal.”
In addition to his partners, Falcone works closely with Drexel undergraduate students, Sunny Patel ’13, Colleen Foley ’12, and Matt Morabito ’13. The trio offer their experience in computer science, engineering, graphic design, and marketing in exchange for real-world experience.
While Falcone says that he has learned so much about entrepreneurship by trial and error, he credits much of his business success to the education he is received so far at Drexel University.
“During my co-op experience as an undergraduate, I determined that I didn’t want to work as an engineer,” Falcone says. “But engineering helped me develop my analytical skills, my problem solving skills. Now in my second year in the MBA program, I am able to implement much of what I’ve learned in my courses to my business. Specifically, the classes Finance for Entrepreneurs and New Venture Planning have been invaluable to me as a new entrepreneur. Most entrepreneurs learn on the fly, but I’m also able learning in class.”