MSU student-led team behind pedicab service to compete for best startup
Advertising management sophomore Josh Cooper and his team are headed to Student Startup Madness in March to compete with seven other teams of student entrepreneurs. They created their free pedicab service, Skoop Inc., last year.
The transportation service takes passengers to their destination, while also serving as an advertising platform for local and national companies.
Cooper, the CEO and founder of Skoop, and his team entered the competition through an online application and went through a series of betting processes to showcase their startup. At the beginning of the semester, Cooper said they were in the top 32, and just recently found out they were in the "top elite eight.”
Student Startup Madness describes the top eight teams in the competition as the "entrepreneurial eight." They will attend the national competition held in Austin, Texas and pitch their business idea to a panel of well-known venture capitals, investors and entrepreneurs. The panel will crown the winner startup business of the year.
“It’s very exciting. Josh has done a great job building an experience and that experience is now going to turn into a scalable business,” Aric Klar, co-owner of the company, said.
Cooper said on top of the chance to compete in a national competition, the student startup will be seeing a lot of improvements, specifically the East Lansing fleet. New exclusive deals, new and improved partnerships and more are being done to make the rider experience better, he said.
“We’re not scared. We’re not nervous. We’re pumped and ready to go," Cooper said. "I couldn’t be more pumped to showcase what we are about."
Cooper and his team plan to pitch all of their new ideas at South by Southwest, where Student Startup Madness will be held.
“We're going to announce some of the new cities that we’re going into and some of the new tech and software we've been developing along with a couple of new, larger national partners that we are really excited about," Cooper said.
Cooper said balancing school and his business is not easy, but the entrepreneurial experience has been a positive one.
“I truly believe that my education has been immensely accelerated from pursuing this venture," Cooper said. "I am really focused on the prize, and I am determined to get a college degree. It’s a goal of mine."
Because Cooper’s team continues to grow, they were granted an office space in the East Lansing Technology Innovation Center, located on East Grand River. This business hub for small businesses and startups provides the opportunity to connect with app developers, legal guidance and other mentors to help grow their own businesses.
"We have been loving it and we're feeling immersed in the community," Cooper said. "It's been great."