What starts as a simple idea to solve the qualms of student consumers gets rapidly transformed into a blossoming startup when Penn junior Erica Polle takes the reins on a project and teams up with her sister Karen. Erica, sweet and ambitious Communications major has launched GivTake, a web-enabled online marketplace that creates a non-stop shop for students to buy and sell.
The idea first struck Polle during her freshman year at Penn, when she realized the lack of an online marketplace that was specifically tailored towards student interests and desires. In contrast with other electronic commerce companies and online giants such as Amazon and eBay, GivTake creates an online student market community.
“You have to be a student to buy on the site, which is an important part of maintaining relevance to student life” Polle commented. “An essential aspect of improving the effectiveness of the site is maintaining a certain amount of selectivity in choosing which businesses list items on the site.”
With attention to detail such as convenient payment options and visual organization, Polle has curated GivTake to be exactly what college students want and need. GivTake continues to evolve as Polle works on site structure, partnerships, and makes adjustments based on beta phase user feedback.
Erica and Karen’s collaborative initiatives are made possible by their close relationship. “We trust each other, and that enables us to work together really effectively. GoogleDocs is our best friend! It’s really nice that even when it gets too difficult to find a time that we are both free to work on the site, be are both confident in the other’s work.”
Communicating with her sister who attends Yale University, as well as managing a full workload at Penn has presented Erica with the tightrope walk of balancing acts. As she takes on in-person meetings, marketing strategies, and management responsibilities, Erica manages to stay sane and on top of her work.
“Being at Penn, people have been really helpful,” Erica commented. “It is a big school, and there are different people with different perspectives. It is great to talk to people who have other start-ups, faculty members with valuable input, and other students with ideas. I love that Penn is so collaborative. I get messages from peers with great ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. Being surrounded by students when the target market is students is the best way to get a sense of how to make the startup most effective.”
Be sure to check out GivTake on Facebook and Instagram for updates and fun upcoming events!
–Images Courtesy of Erica Polle, Olive Yew! and MAFIA Bags.