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During April, Mass High Tech and the Boston Business Journal named Shoutbot (a product developed by Nichols grads and brothers Jason and Dan Rush) as one if its startup companies to watch.
Imagine competing against nearly 300 aspiring entrepreneurs in the 6th annual New Product Innovation Competition and winning a $15,000 prize. That’s just what Nichols grads Jason Rush ’08 and Dan Rush ’12 did when they presented their product ShoutBot, a new iPhone app to a panel of judges.
ShoutBot allows users to transmit voice messages much the same way as written messages can be sent via Twitter. “It’s a new form of social media that allows users to broadcast their voice,” says Dan Rush, who notes that Jason came up with the idea last fall.
“My brother was talking with friends,” Dan recalls, “and said, ‘I wish I could get on my phone and say something and have it go out like a tweet.’” Instead of “tweets,” users of the new app issue “shouts.” Both of the brothers credit Nichols with helping prepare them for the competition and becoming entrepreneurs. Through the signature Professional Development Seminar, Nichols provides an environment that helps students develop their confidence during the numerous “business attire” presentations they have to give. “Not many schools or professors emphasize the importance of approaching everyday presentations the way a business professional would,” Dan says.
Brother Jason credits his Nichols professors with helping him make his ideas a reality. “While attending Nichols, I was lucky to have met some fantastic professors who took a great interest in my ideas and worked with me to help develop them into a functioning business. Without their guidance, I would not have had the knowledge to put together a business plan or the presentation skills needed to present to a room of 15 judges,” he says.
Dan adds, “The classes, the professors, everything about it just made me want to be an entrepreneur. My brother and I earned the education, had the idea, and began to execute our plan the way Nichols taught us to,” he says.
Using their prize money along the way, the brothers have been busy pursuing product development milestones, from hiring programmers to receiving the necessary legal advice. They’ll continue to develop their product while holding down day jobs.