Hatching a great idea that helps others’ ideas take flight

Posted: September 27, 2016

Group photo of Hatchli
(from left): Trey Hakanson, Greg Miller, Ian Hansborough, Dan Arters and Nugeen Aftab are the bright young Buckeye minds behind Hatchli.

Many students dream of one day becoming a CEO of a global company, but some are making that dream a reality even before graduating.

Engineering students Greg Miller, Ian Hansborough, Trey Hakanson and Dan Arters, along with Fisher College of Business student Nugeen Aftab, recently took a break from school to launch a new software company called Hatchli.

Although none of these students have a formal computer science education, they have developed a crowdsourced feedback application available for use on a mobile device or computer. This platform connects innovators and entrepreneurs to influencers in order to instigate rapid and early feedback before products or services are fully developed. Thanks to these students, more than 2,000 users in 40 countries can receive the exposure they need to help their ideas take flight.

This team of five first began dreaming up entrepreneurial ideas when they met as interns at Startups.co. The 19- and 20-year-old students were entrepreneurial thinkers, but had a hard time finding a place to use as a starting point to launch a business. So they decided to create a platform for themselves and Ohio State provided a tremendous environment for their success.

The students attended innovation-centric events around campus such as OHI/O, Ohio State’s annual hackathon, as well as Datafest, the Business Builder’s Club, OUAB’s Shark Tank Competition, the Technology & Commercialization Office’s pitch competitions, and events put on by TechLife and the Big Data and Analytics Association. They are also currently working with the Buckeye Undergraduate Consulting Club to spread brand awareness.

Screenshot of the Hatchli app

However, the students claim their greatest support came from the advice of College of Engineering Associate Dean David Tomasko.

“We thought our dream was almost impossible before we spoke with Dr. Tomasko,” said Hansborough, Hatchli’s CEO, “but he was extremely encouraging.” Other professors such as Steven Bibyk, who offered Hansborough an opportunity for independent study, were also supportive.

Hatchli has now signed on as the largest team at The Brandery, a startup accelerator based in Cincinnati. There the students say they have made incredible connections, such as the global head of e-commerce at P&G.

So what’s next? Hatchli is expanding their network and has even caught the attention of a not-for-profit looking to spark entrepreneurship in the Dominican Republic.

“We hope to inspire other students to do it, too,” said Miller, Hatchli’s CTO.

The young entrepreneurs have proven it is possible to go from building a robot in Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors to being hailed as “the next big thing” in just a few short years and with a lot of determination. Check them out at hatchli.io.

by Alisa Noll, integrated business and industrial systems engineering major

Category: Students