Entrepreneurs at AU: Alumni Ed Westerman '16

Ed Westerman is a 2016 American University graduate who is working on developing the next big mobile application. Ed's idea for the application, "Choosy", landed him a spot in AU's Entrepreneurship Incubator, a selective group of students and recent alumni with start-up ventures. I interviewed Ed about his plans for his business and his experience applying to the AU Incubator.

Her Campus American University: Tell me a bit about Choosy. How did you get the idea?

Ed Westerman: Choosy is a mobile app that helps you with your clothing decisions. I got the idea when I was working retail and I would see people trying on two pairs of shirts, pants, etc. They’d come out of the fitting room and say, “I can’t make up my mind...which one looks better?” and if I’d offer my advice, they’d often ignore it. I did more research and found this is a huge problem where shoppers don’t really trust the opinions of sales attendants. Choosy is a way people can get feedback decisions from their friends.

HC AU: How do you envision the app to work?

EW: When you open the app, it would go right to a camera similar to Snapchat. You take two pictures and send them to whichever friends you like. Your friends will receive a notification on their phones, and when they open it, they see the two pictures and tap whichever one they like more. Once one of your friends tap, you get their feedback.

HC AU: What stage of development is Choosy currently in?

EW: I am basically learning the coding by myself, but that has been difficult because I work full-time. So I am looking at either hiring someone to do more of the technical work, or to get a more technical co-founder to join me.

HC AU: How long has this process been since you first thought of the idea for Choosy?

EW: I had the idea around 2014 but didn’t really do anything with it. For my final class at AU (which was last year), I worked on Choosy as a class project. Then I decided to take the next step and apply to join the AU incubator.

HC AU: What was the application process like for the AU Incubator?

EW: The application process was pretty smooth for me because a lot of it relied on work I had already done for my classroom assignment. The process definitely honed my business skills.

HC AU: How has being part of the AU Incubator kick-started the development of your company? 

EW: The AU Incubator has a really helpful lecture series, which is actually how I met the lawyer I’m working with now. They’ve been a huge help in making things a little less daunting. It also has given me the opportunity to speak with some of the other ventures about how they solve their technical problems, as a lot of them don’t have a technical background either. 

HC AU: What has been the biggest challenge so far?

EW: For me, the biggest challenge has definitely been finding the free time and using my time most efficiently.

HC AU: What is your long-term goal for Choosy? What future plans do you have for the company that we should look out for?

EW: First I’d like to get into a tech accelerator program, and then I’d like to expand Choosy to help with other decision-making processes, such as food or home decor. I’d like Choosy to eventually be widely used for people who need help making any decisions, not just clothes. And I’d hopefully like to be bought by a larger company down the road. 

HC AU: What’s the hardest part of starting your own business?

EW: I think it would be trusting myself that I am capable. 

HC AU: What is the biggest thing you have learned from starting your own business?

EW: I’d say that you really cannot do it alone. You need constant feedback. When I first started, I didn’t want to tell anyone about it because I didn’t want them to steal my stuff. But now, I’m constantly asking people for their feedback, constantly trying to come up with ways that would make the app experience faster.

HCAU: What is your advice for other young entrepreneurs? 

EW: Join the AU Incubator!

HCAU: Lastly, what else do you do in your spare time?

EW: I like reading and playing Neopets. I also have a great Pokémon Card collection.

 

Photo Credit belongs to Ed Westerman.