Competition Winner Just Getting Started
one of the 14 business ideas pitched by Smith student entrepreneurs
in the final round of the on April 15 has the potential for breakout success.
Cash prizes totaling $20,000
were awarded to four of the presenters, including $5,000
second and third prizes, and $500 for an audience favorite.
First prize, won by Melody Setoodehnia í14,
was a $10,000 check, plus free tuition to the , a school for young entrepreneurs
and an entrepreneurial risk-takerís paradise. Setoodehnia
won the competition with her business idea, Your Market Match,
an online matching service for real estate agents and home
and property buyers and sellers. She responded to questions
about the Draper Competition experience.
is Your Market Match?
Melody Setoodehnia '14: Your
Market Match is a website that connects homebuyers and sellers
to agents who best match their real estate needs by personalizing
the search criteria. As the Match.com of the realty world,
Your Market Match allows homebuyers and sellers to connect
with their ideal realtors through a finely tuned search process,
where they are matched with agents who are experts in their
desired price range, neighborhood, and more.
did you get the idea for this business?
MS: Both of
my parents are realtors and growing up with them it was interesting
to notice how hard realtors have to work to find clients.
I also spent a summer working at a mortgage bank so again
I was exposed to the real estate business. I figured if there
was a website that could filter through realtors and help
homebuyers and sellers find their ideal agent then that would
be optimal for both sides.
your experience as a participant in the Draper Business Plan
MS: It has
been a long journey, from formulating the idea to persuading
others to believe in the solution. And I grew every step
of the way. Though I'm confident in my own abilities, I could
not have done it without the help of Kate Hammond, Paul Silva,
my family, and a group of close friends who kept me company
late at night by throwing around ideas. Winning this competition
has been surreal, but itís
just the first step so look out for me!
are your next steps with Your Market Match?
MS: My next
step for Your Market Match is to get as many people as I
can to fill out the survey I have put together. The results
will help me understand the relationship between buyers and
sellers and their agents, what they expect, and how they
evaluate them. Once I collect enough market research to gauge
the interest of clients and realtors, I plan on building
a comprehensive database.
were your strengths as a Draper Competition finalist?
MS: I was
definitely competing against a group of extremely motivated
and bright young women. Each idea was unique in it's own
way but mine was different in a sense that I have been exposed
to this industry for almost 10 years. As the daughter of
two realtors, I am very familiar with the target market and
was able to address the questions of the judges with ease.
That's why I would recommend any young entrepreneur searching
for the next big idea to find an industry or sector that
they're very familiar with and passionate about and search
to address the pain/need.
will you put the Draper funds to use?
MS: For the
time being I plan to save every penny until I have a plan.
My hope is to make this money grow and use it to bring my
business to life (although a shopping splurge sounds tempting).
But the real prize is the scholarship to Draper University,
which I am so excited to participate in next summer.
this your first business idea?
MS: This was
the first idea I pursued and wrote down. Although once you
learn to put on the entrepreneurial glasses, it's hard to
take them off and suddenly many things need new solutions!