New Orleans entrepreneurs found business opportunities in college greek life
Greek organizations are more than mere social outlets: They provide leadership opportunities, mentorship, and philanthropic activities.
What Brendan Finke and Joe McMenemon also discovered through fraternity life at Tulane University was a new business opportunity. Their campus chapter, they found, had a flawed and unorganized communication system. So they segued that setback into ChapterSpot.
ChapterSpot.com is a web application that allows fraternities and sororities to build and manage individual websites, maintain membership databases, and solve communication problems, all on one platform.
The Greek network’s services are designed to make chapter operations more efficient and effective by integrating all the tools necessary to help an organization’s management at the national and local chapter levels. Communication obstacles are managed by creating prospective, member, and alumni databases, to easily send email and text message blasts with chapter updates, event information, and reminders.
The integrated system can be used to remind members of their personal dues, keeping them updated with exactly what they owe. It also allows members to easily organize events or place t-shirt and ticket orders online through the chapter’s network, with accessible online statements that provide a breakdown of expenses.
ChapterSpot has been growing quickly, with more than 1200 chapters across the country using the application, and the duo is already looking to expand the service to other organizations and markets in the near future.
Finke’s intention had always been to start his own business. After McMenemon was laid off during his stint in New York City’s corporate world, the two friends saw it as an opportunity to start a business partnership. The ambitious team began working on ChapterSpot’s concept two years ago, and moved back to New Orleans due to the low cost of living and easygoing lifestyle here.
As with other start-ups in the area, the ChapterSpot founders have seen the growth of the entrepreneurial community in the city, and are adding to it in a major way.
“We didn’t initially start with the mindset to come to New Orleans because of the entrepreneurial spirit,” said McMenemon. “However, we realize that the expansion of businesses are key to the growth in the city, and there is no other place where we would rather be doing this.”
Now, having been accepted into Idea Village’s accelerator program, the two confidently declare that the city is fostering the next business to impact the world.
“People underestimate how exciting and impactful the entrepreneurial movement in New Orleans is right now – we’re excited to be a positive force of economic growth here in New Orleans,” added McMenemon.
Like many other entrepreneurs in the city, they feel fortunate to be able to follow their passion in a city they love. Besides expanding their business, they hope that their involvement in the entrepreneurial community will help combat some of the Katrina stereotypes that are still prevelent in the world.
With ambitious individuals like these putting the Silicon Bayou on the map, there is no doubt that New Orleans will continue to overcome these misconceptions.