BRILLIANT! JUMBO ENTREPRENEURS AND THEIR BIG IDEAS
THE BIG IDEA: A free online resource for students who seek off-campus living quarters. JumpOffCampus, which charges landlords a monthly fee for listing their properties, provides a website where prospective tenants can quickly search listings for places with a particular move-in date, rent, and number of bedrooms. A map shows locations.
STATUS: Abramowics says the business took shape after he and Nichols-Schmolze, as college students, grew frustrated with their own apartment hunt. “We couldn’t believe that there was no resource, and so we sought to make one, using our own experiences—and those of our friends—as inspiration,” he told nibletz.com, an entrepreneurship news site. Launched at Tufts in March 2011, JumpOffCampus is now based in Providence, Rhode Island, and offers services to students at twenty U.S. and overseas universities. This May, it won the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, garnering $15,000 in cash and some $24,000 in services from contest sponsors. Jumpoffcampus.com
THE BIG IDEA: Insurance coverage for your eyes. Ophthalmological procedures such as Lasik surgery can entail substantial risks, including loss of vision. But people who want to minimize those risks by choosing a highly qualified practitioner often don’t know how to find one, according to Siepser, an ophthalmologist in Wayne, Pennsylvania. VisionLock addresses both problems: it provides up to a million dollars worth of coverage for bad surgical outcomes, and it refers patients to a network of ophthalmologists who meet the highest standard of care.
STATUS: Siepser’s venture got its start in 2009, when he decided that the tort system in medicine needed to be replaced by a business model. He tested VisionLock in Florida, and by February 2012, fourteen ophthalmological practices there were offering it. Now he’s working on a plan to roll it out to the rest of the country. Visionlock.com
The Black List
THE BIG IDEA: A website where film industry players can read and rate unproduced scripts that their peers have identified as worthy. Studios, directors, actors, producers, and agents looking for good but perhaps unconventional screenplays pay a monthly fee of twenty dollars to access the site.
STATUS: The Black List first came out in 2005 as a newsletter from the entertainment executive Franklin Leonard. In 2009, Sijamic began transforming it into the web compendium that has become indispensible among Hollywood types. Hits from the list have included The Descendants and Slumdog Millionaire. Blcklst.com