Industry: Mobile Applications, Event Management
Founding Student Name(s): David Roselle and Peter Layne
Brief Description of Solution: DoorList utilizes a dynamic QR code in place of other means of event entry like wristbands or guest lists. The app allows event hosts to quickly add other social organizations or individuals to their event lists, creating smoother and safer events by eliminating pain points in event planning and security. Removing the need for wristbands saves money for organizations while reducing paper waste and the need for physical band distribution.
What led you to launch this venture? DoorList was born as an attempt to solve a problem we faced on a weekly basis at UVA. The previous means of event entry, wristbands or guest lists, each had significant flaws. Wristbands cost money and must be distributed in-person, while guest lists are easy to bypass using a fake name and are very slow at the door. DoorList eliminates the need to make these tradeoffs – we set out to provide a solution that is fast at the door and significantly more convenient than any other option, while also saving organizations money and improving their environmental impact.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? DoorList was selected as a winner of the UVA Entrepreneurship Cup Discovery Phase in the Spring of 2022. We were one of five startups to win $5000 and additional in-kind resources. This was a great honor and also gave us the financial backing to rapidly transform the UVA social event scene. With over 5,000 users across 50+ organizations just at UVA, we now have a proven model for peer schools to adopt DoorList and see the benefits immediately.
How has your business-related major helped you further this startup venture?
The ICE curriculum at McIntire is incredibly helpful in starting a business, as it provides a broad education in a number of business topics. Third-year courses like Systems, Strategy, Marketing, Communications, and Quantitative Analytics have all provided tangible skills that we can bring to DoorList. McIntire also has a rich set of electives like Entrepreneurship 4680, which have allowed us to continue to improve our product with lessons we are learning at UVA.
Which business class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? Marketing with Jeffrey Boichuk was extremely valuable in helping us craft a story about DoorList for organization leaders, investors, and event guests. The biggest lesson I gained from marketing class was to very intentionally craft a marketing message around the pain points of each stakeholder. For DoorList, this is applicable when we talk to event hosts versus event guests. For hosts, the value proposition is the money saved and the convenience while making a list, but for guests it’s that they don’t have to go pick up wristbands and can have all of their tickets in one place. Professor Boichuk’s marketing class helped us realize the need for varied messages and also taught us how to present these messages.
What business professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? Kerrie Carfagno taught my Communications class last semester, and she was instrumental in helping DoorList grow to where it is today. Especially as we have talked to potential investors and entered competitions, her help has been extremely beneficial and has helped us present DoorList as well as possible. For example, Professor Carfagno worked with us to help craft the pitch that won the Entrepreneurship Cup. We are extremely lucky to have had her help throughout this process.
What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? We have been incredibly motivated throughout our process by Vin Bhat, the founder of Saavn. Saavn (now JioSaavn after an acquisition by Jio Platforms) is the largest digital music/audio streaming service in India and completely revolutionized music streaming in that market. Vin is a McIntire alum and has founded numerous other startups including LeagueApps, 212Media, and Simile Software. He is very motivational to us because of the success he has seen across multiple industries and decades, and we are especially grateful for his willingness to help the next generation of entrepreneurs. He has been a valuable mentor to our team as we grow DoorList and his counsel is a clear example of the strength of the entrepreneurship community at McIntire.
What is your long-term goal with your startup? Our long-term goal is to continue to expand beyond UVA and make wristbands a relic of the past. The feedback we have received from social organizations about the increased efficiency, convenience, and safety at events has been fantastic, so we are excited to grow to more schools in the coming months. There are already around 10 Universities that have organizations on DoorList, so it is an exciting period of growth. Additionally, DoorList could be applicable for any organization or event needing to control access or track attendance, so we are eager to expand into these categories.