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Hatching Potential

Story: Adam Lee, Design: Zoe Clifton

By employing Tinder’s swipe interface, the Hatchli app allows users to swipe right on tomorrow’s inventions. Users can set up a profile, follow each other, post comments, and like or pass on the business ventures that fill their newsfeed. Today, Hatchli operates in 45 countries and users are spending over an hour a week on the application.

Hatchli was born when second-year Fisher student, Ian Hansborough, recognized that few tools were available to help young entrepreneurs root out the best of their ripe ideas. There are many resources, such as Shark Tank, for critiquing an idea after it has been set into motion. However, there are few outlets for innovators to have their ideas validated.

“Validation is critical. Innovators need that initial confidence boost so that they can begin to map out where to take their ideas,” explains Nugeen Aftab, COO and Fisher student. “People don’t want to be bothered with surveys. Friends may make suggestions, but they will be hesitant to highlight fatal flaws.”

The first step included gathering a group of individuals who had the skills to create a product and the chemistry to spur market growth. As CEO with a background in engineering, Hansborough manages the day-to-day challenges of running a technical startup. Engineering students Trey Hakanson, Greg Miller and Dan Arters are set on perfecting the application’s operating system, while Aftab applies lessons learned in her marketing classes to broadcasting the experience Hatchi delivers.

To forge their path, the Hatchli team paired up with the Brandery, a startup accelerator that utilizes the business power of the Cincinnati region to make the dreams of hungry students a reality. The team decided that acquiring an office space and taking a leave of absence from their studies at Ohio State was necessary to dedicating all attention and energy to their endeavor. The result is more than another mobile application.

“We are a social community, a place where young entrepreneurs can come together and provide objective feedback on one another’s ideas.,” Aftab says. “Not only are we learning from managing our own business, but we love what we do. We want others to experience that feeling.”

In order to combat idea theft, the application’s terms of use prohibit users from directly copying or reproducing ideas they see on Hatchli. Hatchli helps you avoid searching for a solution before pinpointing a problem.

“Ideas almost never fail because somebody steals the idea. Most of the time, ideas fail because they don’t have the right strategy for execution,” says Hansborough.

Currently, the team is busy visiting college campuses in search of students and local companies willing to test and review their product. This new outreach project has sent them back to the drawing board, with the goal of developing an internship program in mind. After being involved with the Fisher business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, the students participated in the Best of Student Startups Competition at Fisher. The team received invaluable advice from staff across campus and is intent on giving back to the community that has fostered its growth.

The Hatchli team is the epitome of a group that understands the power of discussion. By exploring their passions, they were able to assist others striving to get to where they are today.

“As a student, I firmly believe that there is no better time than right now to go for it.,” Aftab advises. “Once you get older, you begin to get tied down. You might have a mortgage to pay or a family to look after. You don’t need to go all in, but it is important to start thinking about where your passions lie.”

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