From high school to college together, three North Dakota State students are striving to bring the community of Fargo closer together by creating an event application.
Nathaniel Thoreson, sophomore, majoring in marketing with a minor of political science, is the director of communication.
Austin Braham, junior, majoring in economics and finance, is the director of finance and strategy. Mukai Selekwa, sophomore, majoring in computer science, is the director of vision and technology. They became friends in high school and now in college co-founded their business, Webblen.
The application has been in the works for about a year, while their idea for Webblen has been for about two years. This all began in high school when they were in an entrepreneurship organization, DECA, leading to the idea of Webblen and gaining a stronger friendship through business. This is not just any application like a game that you can play; this focuses on us as people. It focuses on allowing people from the tri-state area to be able to find events according to their interests.
“It really forces people to get engaged, especially in Fargo, North Dakota you find yourself, what is there to do, but this is the type of city that’s growing, and it’s growing fast and there’s more and more stuff to do,” Selekwa explains.
“And as opposed to your everyday Netflix and do nothing, there’s actually some stuff that would interest you and engage yourself with community members around you,” Selekwa says. They understand the routine of not knowing how to get more involved in the community students often get into when in college.
They are trying to diminish “the whole culture of what we’re trying to do is find an application or find a solution to the problem of people not knowing what there is around them, not knowing options available to them, so they do the same thing all the time,” Selekwa explains. Everyone gets stuck not knowing what there is to do around Fargo and people tend to give up and do the same habits.
They allow community members to essentially get out of these habits. When going to new events, “You meet a lot of different people in college, but when you decide to look beyond your campus and really take a look at society as a whole you’re living in, it really broadens your perspective,” Selekwa says.
By doing this and meeting different people that you normally do not engage with, you are creating a new hobby and could find an organization that would eventually make it to your resume. This will help you in the long run so, “take an interest in being more involved in community and understand not only yourself but those around you,” Selekwa encourages.
People would tend to get discouraged at a young age when creating a business, let alone an app. They are generally positive people, so it helps with any type of problems or roadblocks they reach.
“We all have a really optimistic mind set, and I’ve noticed that whenever there’s a doubt it’s not some sort of hiccup. We never think ‘Oh we can’t do this, we need to find another way to do this,’” Selekwa says.
While making an application and overall business people could have doubt sometimes, but they remain to think of it as “having doubt is like having someone ask you hard questions,” Thoreson says.
Generally, their majors at NDSU helped produce their strengths for the company. Although, there are some benefits to becoming a co-founder of a business that help your personality grow.
“I have molded into my position — just for an example, I used to never be able to remember anybody’s name and now I can,” Thoreson explains.
Selekwa explains, that this business has “amplified” his personality and that any weaknesses he may have the other co-founders make up for. When you come together as a team you are allowed to have some weaknesses especially because you have other people to compensate for any struggles you may be enduring.
“The strength that I already had really catered to my ability to do this, so my experiences in the past have helped me be able to do this — the fit is so perfect,” Braham explains.
“Everybody around campus — wants to throw in and pitch in to make NDSU campus and Fargo in general a lot better,” Thoreson enlightens. This application is already bringing the NDSU community together, because so many people want to see these young entrepreneurs succeed and encourage their ideas.
Many hate getting spammed about an event you never want to go to, because it does not pique your interest. This application avoids that by allowing you to mute certain interests that you know you do not like. This application strives to bring the community together and allow for all of us to get to know more people, out of our usual acquaintances or friends.
While the application is not out yet, it will be free and only available on Apple iOS at first. Adding events costs a little up charge of five dollars. More information can be found on their website, http://webblen.com/, along with @webblenllc on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.