Our members are responsible for purchases on behalf of various college groups, and we realized that we’d been introduced to many of our vendors through word of mouth. But all of us had run into trouble when communications broke down - many of these companies have little to no digital presence, and a complicated order may take weeks to figure out. We decided to build a platform to help small business owners connect and maintain relationships with their customers at a more personal level than existing solutions.

What it does

Runway connects consumers with businesses in novel ways. It helps businesses make strong connections with customers by hosting experiences like workshops and meetups. Business can widen their marketing funnels by taking advantage of Runway’s straightforward chatbot integration. Our design emphasizes relationships with the people in a company, not just with their product.

How we built it

We wanted to be story-focused for this project - customers judge a product on functionality, not on tech stack - so we built Runway front-to-back. We started with stories, drew wireframes, built the UI with mock data, and then tied it together with a back end.

Challenges we ran into

The main challenge we faced was settling on a project to work on. After our initial group discussion at the hackathon, we decided to share our ideas with industry professionals. After tackling potential concerns, we were deep in thought trying to refine the product! Getting all the different software components together was also a challenge.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are definitely proud of what we accomplished this weekend. We came up with a solution to a really hard problem - our mentors opened our eyes to how difficult it is to get even a great business idea off the ground, and we didn’t pull any punches evaluating how Runway would do out in the real world. We genuinely believe that our solution will successfully connect businesses and consumers in truly novel way!

What we learned

We refined our process for identifying problems to solve, reaching out to friends and family and drawing on leadership experience. We learned a lot about what it takes to get a business off the ground - but we also gained in technical skills: our first experience with Azure was a great success, and we honed our skills at Typescript and React.

What's next for Runway

We truly believe in the potential of our platform, so we will taking steps to understand the market better! The following are some business related things we hope to accomplish:

  • More user research to see what kinds of problems we can solve for different types of small businesses!
  • Understand Supply Chain management and everything that comes with it to possibly introduce our own transportation service for companies to use to deliver!
  • Understand the importance of analytics for small business companies to improve customer retention!
  • Finding a way to translate the aforementioned problems into the product is going to be of utmost priority.

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