Decorated equestrian champion. CEO of organic farm business Milan Farms and indie music label Guin Records. Freelancer for The Huffington Post. Aspiring author.
Colorado College sophomore Milan Kordestani hopes to soon add one more accomplishment to this already impressive list. Kordestani and high school friend Sabine Rizvi are in the process of launching an app designed especially for college students.
“It was her idea basically,” Kordestani said of the app. Growing up in the Bay Area and strongly influenced by Silicon Valley and the tech scene there, the pair were accustomed to bouncing ideas off of each other, Rizvi said in a recent Metro article. When Rizvi, now a sophomore at New York University, mentioned to Kordestani that “It would be really cool if I could have my neighbors help me out with things,” he immediately jumped on the idea, and the pair began working out exactly how to provide this service.
They chose an app because, as Kordestani said, “Everyone has a phone these days.” But, they didn’t know how to build an app, so they looked for someone to help them develop it. “Then we realized—wait, we need to design an app first,” Kordestani said.
Soon the pair began working with a designer based out of South Africa whom they found on a freelancing website. The designer was eager to have his name on the product because, as Kordestani explained, “Everyone wants to be part of the next Uber.” After four to five months of going back and forth with ideas, there was finally enough to bring to a coder they hired from China.
The app, called Dormzi, is intended to create a community of students who can hire and be hired to help each other in small tasks around campus, which at the moment encompass cleaning, laundry, tutoring, and errands, according to the LinkedIn profile for the startup. Students will be able to specify what task they want done and when, and, in an Uber-like model, other students can perform the task and get paid for it. Similarly, students who are searching for a job will be able to search on their campus for work requests to fulfill.
According to Kordestani, there are other apps out there that can provide similar services, but there isn’t an app built specifically for college students. In part because of safety concerns, only college students will be able to hire or work on the app.
“Eventually we’d like to get RateMyProfessor on there, textbook selling and buying on there. It’s meant to be like the app for the college student,” Kordestani said.
An intended agricultural business major, Kordestani first entered the entrepreneurial start-up scene in high school, when he decided to raise a flock of 20 chickens and sell their eggs in his family’s backyard. Over time, the company, Milan Farms, morphed into a multi-farm business dedicated to the organic production of free-range eggs, saffron, and mint.
In describing the transition process from chicken-raising to creating apps, Kordestani doesn’t regard it as anything major. His parents are both in the tech world — his father, Omid Kordestani, is the current executive chairman of Twitter — and he asked for their advice occasionally. “But mostly, it’s just been kind of figuring it out for ourselves,” he said. “Everything sort of comes as you start to be like, ‘Oh, I wish I had this information. Let me see if there’s a way to get it.’ You Google it … and then if there isn’t, you create that idea!”
There have certainly been doubts along the way, though. Kordestani and Rizvi wondered if there was even a user base for their app, if it would be affordable enough, if safety issues would arise. Eventually, the team decided that they might as well launch it. “That’s the biggest advice we’ve gotten from people,” Kordestani said. “Don’t try to perfect an app. An app will never be perfect. And that’s why you can release updates!”
The app is currently about to go through initial testing phases at NYU; it will be released this weekend to a select group of students there. “You don’t want to put an app that’s not tested yet on the app store,” Kordestani said. “You don’t want to get bad reviews because it can never get back from that.”
Following testing and bug fixes, the timeline is uncertain, but Kordestani is confident that the app will be released within the year. “I’m excited to bring it to CC eventually, to see what people think,” he said.
Once it’s released to a broader audience, the team is anticipating an enthusiastic reception by college students across the country. “Hopefully word of mouth spreads,” Kordestani said, “[with] people saying, ‘Oh wait, I go to UCCS, I wish I had that. I go to Boulder, I wish I had that.’ And then asking it to come there.”