A business that started in a High Point University entrepreneurship classroom is thriving.
triptap, a product of ezLife, LLC, and created by 2013 graduates Ben Thuss and Matt Brodeur recently partnered with Pipeline Social Media Solutions, a company that provides social media and web development services to hotels across the U.S. Now Thuss and Brodeur are moving their business to Atlanta to work more closely with their new partner.
Through the partnership, Pipeline invested $35,000 and took an equity stake in triptap so the two firms can focus on software development and marketing campaigns. Pipeline is also a partner company to the Hotel Assets Group, LLC, a specialized brokerage firm offering hotel-specific real estate and investment banking within the United States.
Thuss and Brodeur launched their company while students at HPU. A class, led by Lou Anne Flanders-Stec, assistant professor of entrepreneurship, required students to create a business plan and present it as if they were pitching to investors. Brodeur and Thuss took it a few giant steps further by launching a company and landing $250,000 in funding from a private investor.
“Through her class and guidance, we developed the business model, business plan, financial model and worked on the pitch,” said Thuss. “It was really helpful to be able to practice in an environment where people were asking practical questions and where we could pitch and present our idea before we were in front of real investors.”
Their idea stemmed from a very real experience. They took a road trip and rented a hotel room – a process that seems simple enough. But now that they were thinking like entrepreneurs, they saw the world differently. Simple things turned into big ideas.
“We started thinking about the whole process and realized how much easier it would be if we could digitize it,” said Brodeur. “We created an app for hotels that guests can download when they arrive. From their tablets, they can request room service, valet parking, items at the front desk and browse the hotel’s menus, check-out times and emergency information. Customers can also use the app to find attractions around their hotel, such as the highest-rated restaurants, parks and shopping areas.”
Ever since graduation, Thuss and Brodeur have been working on their software. They say their new partnership will give them access to a huge network of hotel ownership groups and management firms; allowing them to promote and roll out their newest version of triptap once it’s ready.