What can a couple of high school seniors get done in a weekend? If they’re the right people in the right place, they can build a start-up trying to take on the billion-dollar handheld point of sale (POS) market.
That’s exactly what Billy Ma and Naren Inukoti want to do with Convenu, a new company that plans to sell custom Android tablets which will connect waiters and kitchen staff directly to each other, helping guide the former the most current specials and promotions while giving the latter a heads up on what orders are heading their way.
’’I wanted to solve this problem for myself,’’ said Ma, who has been waitering for about a year. “I’m so busy in the restaurant, there has to be some kind of way to make this easier.’’
And so the Acton Boxborough Regional High School students began honing and pitching their idea: To teachers, to parents, and eventually to their prospective customers, restaurants. Somebody liked what they were hearing: They were accepted into the New England Chinese Information and Networking Association’s NEW Accelerator program, and were encouraged to enter last weekend’s Startup Weekend Boston.
That’s when things really accelerated, and the two entrepreneurs got help and advice on everything from building their prototype app to pitching potential customers.
’’The coolest thing for us was being treated like adults,’’ said Inukoti. “They were just as harsh as with any of the other groups there.’’
Local businesses appear to be taking the two seriously as well.
Ma said that they already a customer committed to helping beta test and, if things go well, buying the platform.
They hope to sell to restaurants for $6,000 a year, which will include both software and hardware. The pair said they hope to roll out a prototype sometime in May.
’’We’ve already gone through so much, the experience is just so incredible,’’ said Ma. “You meet so many new people and get to do so many things you wouldn’t get to do as a typical high schooler.’’
’’Both of us love being leaders,’’ he said, saying that they both planned on remaining entrepreneurs. “Sure, you can be a part of something else, but why don’t you create something else?’’