Two Westchester natives are behind a new app, which officially launched Friday, Sept. 15.
John Tambunting of Scarsdale, Adam Alpert of Harrison, and Isaac Zussman of Pawtucket RI are the brains behind Pangeamart, an app that connects gig workers -- those in the freelance space -- with jobs.
It was born in Alpert's sophomore year at Brown University when Zussman, his roommate's friend, brought up the idea in a casual conversation after a frustrating summer looking for odd jobs. Alpert, a freelance videographer, thought the idea had legs and proposed some next steps. The two got to work but didn't get serious until their junior year when Tambunting, who literally taught himself how to build the app, joined in.
Fast forward to earlier this summer when the three -- they are 23, 22 and 28 --secured coworking space, mentorship, and a bit of funding from Brown as part of the school's summer accelerators called the Breakthrough Lab.
Outside of the little grant money they raised, they are entirely bootstrapped. Alpert said they are "pre-seed, pre-revenue" and are hoping to court potential investors.
In the meantime, Pangeamart, which comes from the word Pangea, the most recent supercontinent (think 250 million years ago), is limited to those with a Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, or Johnson & Wales University.edu address.
"It's basically a soft beta launch so we can work out any kinks before bringing it to a wider audience," said Alpert.
"We have plans to bring it to schools nationwide after this academic year and the intention is to eventually bring it to the surrounding communities."
Pangea's mission, he said, is to create a unified free market in which everyone can participate.
"We can unite the world by bringing together communities through commerce."
And yes, the goal is international.
"We believe a platform like Pangea would be a tool for economic empowerment in countries that were previously colonized and lack the necessary infrastructure to promote internal economic development," explained Alpert.
For now, the audience is college students who want to operate their own side-business. Down the road, it's anyone who wants to pursue and share their passions and become self-employed.
For it to work, “Pangeans,” download and register for free. Users then access the main feed, where they can choose among three separate toggles: goods, requests, or services and search from there. Upon finding a service -- say a web designer -- the user can expand on the designer's profile, chat with him/her and negotiate a price. After booking the service, users pay in-app and are able to rate each other.
The founders take 10 percent and the payment platform takes 2.9 percent; the goal is to eventually become free.
All in due time, said Alpert who, from his base in Providence, is optimistic about the company's future.
The Harrison native likes to tell the story of how the three co-founders and housemates, in the first days of moving in together post-college, ended up with no electricity or internet for a week due to a scheduling mishap with their utility provider.
"We launched a tech company out of a glorified tent," he said.
"This is emblematic of the fact we are lean and scrappy and we won't let anything stand in our way."
Go to www.pangeamart.com/ for more information.
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