This post was written by Dana Ward, Yijia (Alice) Xu, Danial Kang and Christopher Daniel, pictured above.
This semester, we participated in the CEL Entrepreneurial Consulting Team course. This unique course provides students an opportunity to work with a startup company and help it solve various issues. We would like to share our experience with you.
Zoog is an asynchronous communication smartphone app that allows consumers to bring books to life using built-in augmented reality face masks, filters, sound effects and animations. It provides an interactive platform to connect people, especially during the pandemic.
This is particularly attractive to grandparents, who may not have seen their grandchildren for a long time but can still read and record stories for them via Zoog. We were deeply intrigued by this creative product and interested in contributing to the app, which can foster connection during this difficult time. You can learn more about our client on their website or download the app. Use the access code ILOVEZOOG
Zoog is in its early phase. It recently introduced its product to schools in Atlanta, and it is expected to grow its library of content for users.
Zoog’s primary concerns are in two areas: business and legal. Accordingly, we divided our team into two corresponding groups and compiled our findings. The business team researched and recommended the most suitable subscription model for Zoog, and it proposed a model for Zoog to cooperate with book publishers.
The legal team analyzed copyright license agreements and the various related legal issues, including the derivative use, the doctrine of fair use, and vicarious and contributory liability. The legal team related the issues to Zoog so that it will be more informed about how to proceed in legal negotiations and in what ways the use of copyrighted materials might be allowed.
During this course, our team members applied our classroom knowledge to the project. For instance, we applied knowledge from the pricing strategies course and entrepreneurship class to help our client solve business problems, and we also used different legal resources and issue-spotting skills we learned in law classes.
This course has also helped us prepare for our future aspirations and for becoming better leaders. For instance, one of our team members is interested in working in consulting full time. This class provided her a unique experience to understand what that could really look like.
She has also gained lots of project management and client communication skills that will be essential in her career moving forward. This course has also taught us how to solve complex problems, how to communicate with teammates and clients, and how to work with others.
The CELect experience is different from other classes because it provides us an opportunity to work with a real startup company. Instead of a detached reading of a case about other companies’ issues, we actively participated in solving various problems for our client, sharing their concerns and brainstorming ideas that may affect the future of their product.
Advice for CELect participants
It offered us a vivid experience of the satisfaction and bewilderment harbored by entrepreneurs, encouraging us to proactively search for information and make decisions, instead of following others’ direction.
For those who are interested in CELect, our team has some advice for you! First, we think it is very important to listen to the client’s preferences and concerns while conducting research and making recommendations.
You should also read deeper into what the client wants. They may say they need one thing, but don’t stop there. Let them know what they are missing so they can make a complete and informed decision.
You should also be very organized about your tasks and actively cooperate with teammates, and be ready to help each other when needed. We are sure that you will learn a lot from this fulfilling and enjoyable experience.