We’ve all heard about it at countless meetings, group discussions, and alumni events. Lehigh is innovative. Lehigh is breaking ground. But what is Lehigh actually doing that is creating such an impact?
This institution is giving students an opportunity to do something different and to make themselves known. While all other college seniors are searching for jobs, applying, and crossing their fingers, Lehigh students are creating their own paths. They are developing their own companies, generating business plans, and building products at the age of 21. Three students are leading the Class of 2015 in this journey. Roger Graham, Alexander Derek, and Tyler Bond were all inspired by a cause and chose to act immediately.
Roger’s newly created company, Localfu, allows travelers to log onto his website and pay $5 to buy travel plans from a real local. The idea emerged when he and his best friend and business partner were having difficulty preparing for a trip of their own. He stated, “planning was tough unless we had a friend to call in a place we were visiting. We hated planning via endless reading of TripAdvisor and Yelp. The initial concept was ‘What if we had a local in any place that we could call?’ and it developed from there.” Roger hopes to grow his business enough for it to lead the industry and become the go to place to plan a trip.
Alex’s company is a bit different. He is the cofounder of Delmonico Apparel, a line of men’s golf and golf lifestyle apparel. His company is unique because each of the four collections created so far represents a different charity including Alzheimer’s Awareness, Breast Cancer Awareness, Childhood Cancer Awareness, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness. When ordering a product, customers are relayed information about the charity that product supports and given an avenue through which they can become more involved. Because his target market includes males between the age of 18 and 25, Alex is eager to grow his brand while still in school. Afterward, he plans on expanding the business and striking a deal with a big-box, national chain. Alex’s main motivation is philanthropic. He hopes he is “able to inspire others to get involved in raising awareness and aid for causes that they feel strongly about through donations, volunteer work, or whatever means they prefer.”
Tyler’s company is still in the beginning stages, however the idea is developing quickly. He and his partner, Dave DiFrancesco, plan to create a “consumer-facing intelligent recommendation platform for the craft beer industry.” To help inexperienced beer lovers find their way around the growing craft beer market, Tyler and Dave plan to “guide consumers along a personalized journey of discovery, fostering connection to local breweries and enabling exploration.” The company will utilize information on each customer’s taste preferences and their location to choose local beers the customer will enjoy and be able to purchase. As of now the company is named Crafty, and the next step is getting a functional product in the hands of consumers. When asked about company growth, Tyler shared that the team is focused on hitting the Philly metro area, however he thinks “Crafty could eventually work nation-wide. State laws are one of the biggest impediments to rapid growth, so we’re looking into the most ‘beer friendly’ states for alternate launch locations and places for expansion down the line.”
These three Lehigh seniors are leading the way, inspiring our generation to take problems into our own hands. They are truly proving the theory that with enough drive and passion to make a change, innovation and success will result.