Entrepreneurship in Gainesville

Covering local Gainesville startups and the student entrepreneurs that start them.

Interview with GreekSquad

GreekSquad is a set of recruitment tools designed to assist fraternities and sororities attract potential members.

One of the more exciting startups I've seen in the Gainesville area resides within the minds of two very bright individuals, Sammy Quershi and Harris Beha. Both Sammy and Harris spotted the need to provide fraternities and sororities around the nation more powerful recruitment tools to attract new members. However, they wanted to be different.

Built for smartphones, the GreekSquad mobile app is nearing completion. The app will allow potential rushees the ability to receive an unbiased breakdown of each fraternity and sorority.

You can sign up at the GreekSquad homepage to win cool GreekSquad gear, like GreekSquad on Facebook and follow GreekSquad on Twitter.

Raw transcript of our conversation

Mike: Alright, so I'm sitting here with...

Samyr: Samyr Quershi.

Harris: Harris Beha.

Mike: And we're going to do an interview, so to start it off, tell me a little more about yourselves.

Samyr: I was actually born in Dubai. My family moved to the Tampa Bay area when I was around 6-7 years old. From then on, regular kid, went to elementary school and all that. Bit deviant, but had my fun times.

Harris: With me, my mom started a dance school when I was really young. I got kind of thrown into business, kind of running everything. Recently, we've taken up GreekSquad. You know, the Greek system plays a large role at the University of Florida and we feel like a lot of the misconceptions people have about the system are a little skewed and we're trying to paint it for what it is. It is a good system and benefits a lot of people.

Mike: Tell me a little more about GreekSquad.

Harris: GreekSquad is really a set of recruitment tools and strategies that build off the values of each fraternity and sorority and gives people unbiased information so they can make their own decisions when it comes to choosing a fraternity or sorority. At the same time, it kind of pitches the benefits of Greek life as a whole.

Mike: Why did you choose the mobile platform to do such an idea as this?

Samyr: Again, there is no startup cost. We could hire someone to do it and pay thousands, pay out the ass, but we're in Gainesville where we got smart kids. It's a highly concentrated area and they really push for innovation.

Mike: So you're entering the mobile landscape, what do you see presently and what do you see the future of mobile being?

Harris: I mean, mobile is great because as Sam said, almost everyone has a smartphone now. At the same time, everybody also realizes the potential mobile applications have when it comes to not only money making but exposure for future projects. I would say the hardest part about mobile is the competitiveness. You don't want to restrict competition, but you have to plan accordingly to all competition that can occur.

Mike: What would you say makes an entrepreneur?

Samyr: I took Principles of Entrepreneurship with Professor Bill Rossi. The funny thing is, I didn't do well in the class, but I read the book, was interested in it, and applied the principles. I didn't do well in the class because I didn't want to study it, I wanted to apply it. Now I am, and it's great.

Harris: I feel personally, good entrepreneurs are good at failing. But that's the thing - anyone can fail. It's how you learn from the mistakes you made, how you adapt the mistakes, and how you recreate something from them. If you do that enough times, you will eventually become successful at whatever you may do.

Mike: What excites you within the Gainesville startup scene?

Harris: For me, it's really the people. We have a lot of bright, talented people in the region.

Samyr: When you see someone who seems like they might be able to help you, even though they may not say they're an entrepreneur, I'll run up to them and say, "hey, it looks like you know what you're doing with computers. Do you want to talk, do you want to meet?" I remember taking some big leaps, thinking, "this guys going to think I'm weird if I go up to him." Turns out, one ended up helping us with design, another one helped us with some legal things. Random kids have so much potential and talent, but you would never know unless you go up to them.

Mike: So I feel like the biggest thing someone could take from this interview is to build relationships with people, and learning from all experiences along the way.

Samyr & Harris: Yes.

Mike: Where can they follow you?

Samyr: twitter.com/greeksquadapp, facebook.com/greeksquad, and www.greeksquadllc.com.

Mike: Thanks for the interview guys.