From the moment you start using it, people tell you how dangerous the Internet is. Now, one UCF alumnus is hoping to make searching for a sofa less sketchy.
Dustin Calim, who graduated in 2010 and now lives in Silicon Valley, California, is the CEO and founder of Corqboard, which he describes as "a safe place for students to buy, sell and connect with each other."
"The best way to think about it is sort of a Craigslist for students," he said.
By requiring students to have a valid .edu email address, Calim hopes his site will eliminate some of the wariness people feel about competitive sites.
Calim himself experienced a dubious situation while attending UCF.
"Somebody came over to buy a mattress I had for sale and it sort of turned into one of those deals where you just wanted to get them out of your house, and felt violated for having them come over in the first place," he said.
Charles Springer, a UCF alumnus who graduated in 2008, is an early user of the site where he sold a bicycle and bought a briefcase.
"Signing up is really simple. You just put your email address in," Springer said. "I really like it because it has a lot of the Craigslist feel but none of the sketchiness of Craigslist so you know everyone is a student and local."
The site also boasts a buy-it-now feature where you can directly pay the person using a credit card, Paypal or Bitcoin, ensuring you get the item they are selling.
Calim first came up with the idea for the site in 2009 but didn't have the money to implement it.
"I was graduating and fresh out of school. I didn't have enough capital and time to work on it so I broke first ground on it in 2012," he said.
So far he's introduced Corqboard to 92 schools in the nation, while only advertising at Stanford University and the University of California-Davis. Currently, he's working to make people aware of its arrival at UCF.
Calim met with Cameron Ford, the founding director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at UCF, to seek out guidance for his venture.
"I thought that it was an interesting value proposition to try and provide a platform that requires some authentication of people's identity. So sort of what Facebook did to succeed in the social market," Ford said. "I think the design is pretty user friendly."
Ford and Calim talked about strategies for introducing Corqboard to the UCF community and how to make the site conform more to positive feedback.
The design, Springer said, will also appeal to college students.
"It's clean and simple and easy to browse, and it's just a good buying experience," he said.
Calim hopes to bring Corqboard to every school in the country and even introduce it internationally over time.
Alex Wexelman is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future. Email him at email@example.com.