It was one o’clock in the morning when Brinlee Kidd burst into her and her roommate Sylvia Lopez's dorm room with an idea that would eventually take them to places they never thought they would be so early in their college careers.
After spending 11 hours working on a study guide for her computer information systems class and not feeling too great about the test, Kidd, a freshman studying informatics, realized there needed to be a better and more efficient way for students to organize their notes.
It was from that desire that Kidd and Lopez, also a freshman studying industrial engineering, created Jotted, a note-taking and studying app that takes the users' notes and creates study materials for them in the app using funding and support from the Luminosity Lab.
“(We want) to take the intimidation factor out of studying and learning,” Lopez said. “To get back to basics and enjoy learning.”
Essentially, the user can take notes within the app itself and once they are ready, Jotted will create detailed flashcards and practice tests, as well as a few other features for the user.
The platform is still in its early stages with the team working out the code and creating a prototype.
After seeing an advertisement on Snapchat about a global competition hosted by Red Bull dubbed Red Bull Basement, the Jotted team applied for the program by sending in a 60-second video showcasing their product.
“Red Bull Basement empowers students in all areas of study, kickstarting their ideas to drive positive change and disrupt the world tomorrow,” as stated in a Red Bull Basement press release.
Lopez and Kidds’ video was selected out of the 182 videos sent in by students in the U.S. and had to undergo interviews in front of a panel of judges. After their video was sent to Red Bull headquarters, the Jotted team was named the U.S. finalists after considering their platform in the areas of “feasibility, creativity and impact,” stated by the press release.
“It was a very quick-moving process,” Lopez said. “We were meeting with experts in tech startups, in marketing and journalism, so it was a very intimidating but insightful and meaningful process.”
Currently, the team is in a five-week incubator and accelerator development phase where they are connecting with experts in the U.S. and across the world. The final will take place Dec. 13-15 in Istanbul, Turkey, where Kidd and Lopez, along with the 43 other finalists from across the globe, will participate in workshops and showcase their products, which are focused on topics like Body and Mind, Career, Clean Water, Climate Action, Education, Empowerment, Energy and Smart Cities.
Even though they do not know what the final will look like, Kidd and Lopez are taking advantage of meeting with experts and doing what they can to make “the best possible product for students,” Kidd said.
“(The competition) is definitely a learning curve,” Kidd said. “We are getting thrown into the thick of it when we just had this idea and are barely building the prototype. Now we have an accelerated timeline so we are learning all about how to start businesses and how to be project managers and app development and it all brings us a great experience."
Kidd and Lopez said this entrepreneurial experience has greatly affected their college careers. Given that they are both freshmen, the impact of starting a business has not only presented success but challenges as well.
The team has had to face setbacks in the marketing aspect of their platform, often having to reimagine and rethink the way they want to present Jotted. Other times, their lack of knowledge in certain fields has made it necessary to ask the “dumb questions.” But even with the challenges, Kidd and Lopez are moving forward with their product to better aid students with their learning.
“I hope (students) see Jotted as an opportunity to take charge of their learning,” Lopez said. “I hope it empowers them to really take that back and make their classes and their time work for them. We never want an education to get in the way of learning."
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Luke Chatham is a Community & Culture reporter and previous Business and Tech reporter. He also worked in the studio production crew for Cronkite News and is currently a freelance reporter and writer for Arcadia News.