Establishing (CO)COnnections

The end of August marks the beginning of school for thousands of college students across the United States. However, for Martin J. Whitman School of Management MBA candidates Phil Rossi and Dan Strumlok, the end of August not only means the start of classes but also the launch of their new app, COCO.

The COCO (College Connection) app allows users on college campuses to easily exchange services, such as tutoring and ride-sharing, amongst each other. Users can post jobs, request services and earn money in their spare time throughout the school year. To Rossi and Strumlok, the app serves as a valuable resource for college students who often have little time and may need extra cash.

“When I was an undergrad, I used to earn money in my free time by doing simple things, like giving my friends rides,” Rossi said. “I thought other students might be interested in doing the same if they had a platform to connect.”

Inspired by his past experiences, Rossi brought the COCO Platform concept to the Whitman School’s entrepreneurship center last fall in hopes of turning his idea into a reality.

“I went to the entrepreneurship center with almost no experience in starting a business, but the staff made me feel at home,” Rossi said. “One of the mentors, James Shomar, has been fantastic about helping me nearly every step of the way. He introduced me to many of the contacts who have made the COCO Platform’s progress to this point possible.”

After months of market research, designing and developing the foundation of the COCO app, Rossi and Strumlok have moved into beta testing.

“We have been engaging with students at different schools allowing them to test out trial versions of the COCO platform to let us know what they think,” Rossi.

The COCO app will be available on the App Store and Google Play on late Aug. 2016.

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