Startup Q&A - CUaround is Changing the Game with Digital Advertising
Pivoting is something that almost every startup does. When they were founded in 2015, the student-led startup CUaround was developing a social media app for college students. The company is now creating hardware that is part of the digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising industry.
Boston University student and company Founder & CEO Gerry Panzu Konde had a chance to speak with us about CUaround and how this self-proclaimed “stealthy” startup is changing advertising.
CB: I’m a big fan of the phrase “origin story.” What are the origins of CUaround? This can be about your background, your team’s background, what led you down this path, etc.
GK: CUaround, LLC was founded in 2015 out of Boston, MA. In 2016, CUaround developed and launched their first app. A college collaborative app that would aid young, new, transfer and international students to quickly get acquainted with other students on campus.
As an international student, I know how scary and daunting it is to be in a new environment. The goal of the app was to help alleviate those students of their fears, but I quickly figured out, there were too many apps in the app store that offered the exact same thing. Before the app, I built a high-powered gaming PC by simply watching YouTube tutorials and eventually sold it. This was really my starting point of getting into the tech industry.
CB: What is the ultimate goal of CUaround?
GK: Our goal is to be an industry leader in the digital out-of-home advertising (DOOH). With new trends and the enhancement of new technology. The industry has shown a steady growth and is expected to increase in the next coming years. I believe CUaround's new DOOH solution can be a major factor.
CB: Explain what CUaround does. If it’s a particular software/platform/service, how does it work? Any use case that stands out to you?
GK: CUaround is a hardware-software unification that enhances both the public’s interaction with the kiosk and enhances measuring tools for advertisers/retailers.
There are two key aspects of CUaround: The hardware aspect is one-of-a-kind since the kiosk and the smart bench is made of a unique arrangement of components and functions as a unit interconnected.
The software aspect is unique due to the possibilities available through the application.
CB: How big is the team? Are you looking to hire any particular position in the upcoming months?
GK: Currently, the team is made up of 3 personnel, but we are looking for an experienced CTO and software engineer.
CB: Has CUaround participated in any trade shows/meetup events in the Boston area? What about events outside of Boston?
GK: We have not participated yet. We have just been in stealth mode. In the shadows, lurking and preparing.
CB: Is the company bootstrapped or seeking investments?
GK: Currently, it's being bootstrapped by myself with some help from family. But, we are in the process of raising funds and the announcement should be coming soon.
CB: I’m always interested in how a startup came up with its name. How did CUaround get its name?
GK: CUaround is simply pronounced "see-you-around". The name came to me when I first initially thought about my app in 2015. As a collaborative platform, I wanted the name to represent a sense of belonging.