In this type of economic climate, it is safe to say that graduation season has become a time of great anxiety for much of the country's recent graduates looking for entry-level employment. However, there are at least two recent college grads, Avelo Roy and Ed Suda, who see things pretty differently. As co-founders of eMotionLLC, the Illinois Institute of Technology graduates believe that now is as good a time as any to launch their product, a product that they hope will revolutionize the tween marketplace.
eMotion's premiere product is the "BFF<3 necklace," a device that allows tweens to wirelessly communicate with each other via a necklace that doubles as a fashion accessory. The necklaces use radio frequencies to communicate with one another within a 1,000 foot range by sending coded messages at rapid speed through light and vibrations. Roy and Suda hope that this becomes a viable alternative to a cell phone for girls that age.
Necklace holders can seek an online place of solace at www.bfflessthan3.com, a social networking site where they can chat with their friends and even program their coded messages. Their competitive advantage lies in the security that the duo claims the site can provide tween girls -- a group often susceptible to online predators. Necklace owners can only interact online with friends who have synced their necklaces in-person by having them physically touch each other, otherwise online chatting can't take place. This makes it more difficiult for others to access the site, since the necklaces can act as a barrier to entry.
Despite the economic downturn, Roy and Suda are confident that their product has real staying power because of their target demographic.
"Tweens are mostly protected [in this economy], because parents are willing to sacrifice for their children. We don't feel like our products will be severely impacted because it's a one time hardware purchase that gains you access to the website," says Roy.
Thanks to business competition prize money and angel investment, eMotion has raised approximately $40,000, with an overall goal of raising $500,000 in order to fully launch. The company currently has a working prototype and a focus group using their website. To begin generating revenue toward their project goal and get prospective customers used to this concept, BFF Notes, a paper version of the necklace, was launched in early March.
Roy and Suda have been extremely resourceful during the product development phase of their journey, utilizing their college as a major contributor to the process. Their school created a course where students were given college credit toward working on development of the innovative product.
"Don't wait until after graduation to start a business, because your university can be a great resource," says Suda, "Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you are genuine, people will help you."
eMotion is set to launch in time for the upcoming holiday season 2009.