Columbia MBA student Justin Belmont will be making his pitch to potential investors on Risk & Reward with Deirdre Bolton at 1 p.m. ET on Friday. Belmont co-founded Perkla, which aims to make it easier for student discounts to be applied online.
“We discovered that the breadth of perks and discounts offered to students in stores was not being offered online,” Belmont said. He joined forces with fellow Columbia students Marc Lombardo and Josh Kaplan to form a startup that addresses this dilemma.
Perkla creates a “digital student ID,” by verifying student emails. Users can then get online discounts at top brands, including Cole Haan, Nine West, Express and Theory.
Belmont will be presenting his business to venture capital lawyer Ed Zimmerman, About.com founder Scott Kurnit, and angel investor Peter Shankman. The judges will determine whether or not they would participate in an investment round.
Perkla has already gotten started on its seed stage funding. Columbia’s Lang Fund will be contributing $50,000.
Making the case for the business model, Belmont points out that there are 21 million students currently enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. “Students are the ideal demographic for new products: they are quicker to experiment and try out new things, have less preexisting brand loyalty, and are more likely to influence the buying habits of their peers.”
Perkla is hoping to raise a $500,000 venture round, in order to get their business running. Watch Risk & Reward on May 9 at 1 p.m. ET to see whether Perkla will make the cut.
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