April 1, 2012

Cover Story

Student 25

The Rules To be eligible for Student 25 consideration, a company must:...Read More

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Student 25

Utah’s Next Generation of Leaders

Heather Stewart

April 1, 2012

The Rules

To be eligible for Student 25 consideration, a company must:

  • Have been started by a full-time student or someone who graduated during 2011.
  • Have been started by a student who played a major role in conceiving the business and who has a key management role.
  • Be headquartered in Utah, and be for-profit and independent.
  • Be no more than five years old and have been founded on or before June 2011.

Go to www.utahstudent25.com for more info.

1. React Games
Founders: Brad Moss, Chad Lee, Jim Oldham

React Games creates video games for multiple platforms, including smart phones, tablets, PCs, Facebook and the web. The young company already has an impressive lineup of clients, including EA, Hasbro, Lucas Arts, Intel and A&E.

“We started our company when we secured the exclusive rights to remake one of EA’s first games, “Archon” (1983). All of us have been making games for years, but we decided to take this opportunity to launch a new company of our own,” says Brad Moss, COO of React Games.

The company’s latest app is “Presidents Run,” a free game that lets smart phone or tablet users play as their favorite political candidate and earn votes.

An MBA student at Brigham Young University, Moss says, “I have found that there is a tremendous support network here at BYU and in the local Utah community for young entrepreneurs like myself. From my experience here in Cougar Capital (student-run VC fund) to the various campus competitions, it seems like everywhere I turn there is a more seasoned hand supporting me along the way.”

The company founders are enthusiastic and passionate about the gaming industry. Moss says his long-term goal for React Games is to keep it at the forefront of innovation for  years to come.

“We have clients who specifically come back to us again and again because of our talent in building innovative software solutions to technical challenges, and our solutions are always fun,” he says. “In addition to innovation, we are focusing heavily now on building world-recognizable IP. We are working with some of the best entertainment people in the industry to create new and exciting worlds for players around the globe to explore.”

As a student entrepreneur, Moss has often found himself stretched thin, putting in 16-hour days to fit everything in. But, though challenging, the experience has enriched his entrepreneurial abilities. He advises those just starting out to “understand your strengths and utilize them every way you can. Your strengths can include your talents, your social networks or merely your strong passion. Try and build a business that enhances your strengths and you’ll be very satisfied.”

He also suggests learning as much as possible from mentors and others with greater experience. “Yes, you have strengths, but only a fool would think that others can’t give you new direction or advice along the way. Take in as much input as humbly as you can, then use your best judgment and use the advice in ways that can make your business even better and grander than you originally imagined.”

2. Fix A Phone
Founders: Craig Anderson, Jacob Williams, Quinn Zite

Fix A Phone is exactly what it sounds like: the company specializes in repairing mobile phones, iPods, tablets and other electronic devices. Fix A Phone started out as a kiosk at the University Mall and within less than two years had expanded to two additional retail locations.

“Tinkering has always been one of our favorite pastimes,” says Craig Anderson, managing director of Fix A Phone. “After doing it for so long, we figured we might as well try to make a business out of it.”

Anderson is an electrical engineering major at the University of Utah and anticipates graduating in 2014. In the meantime, he is taking full advantage of the opportunities afforded to student entrepreneurs, including “having the chance to work with some truly brilliant businessmen. I am constantly seeking advice from the older, wiser and much more experienced businessmen. Their mentorship has been the single greatest opportunity and asset as I have grown my business.”

The founders of Fix A Phone made a small, initial capital investment to open their first kiosk. But since that time, the company’s growth has been organic. With no debt, the company is poised to expand into neighboring states—and eventually nationwide, says Anderson.

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