A Surprising Collaboration: A Reciprocity Story Between Two Student Startups
Sujoy Purkayastha and Amaan Dosani first met as teacher’s assistant and student in the Longhorn Startup Lab, but now the two are collaborating on their individual startups to mutually benefit one another. Sujoy is a senior double majoring in Computer Science and Math at the University of Texas at Austin. His startup, tuktuk, is a carpooling platform that aims to make transportation in Austin more accessible for students and provide affordable and convenient rides to popular Austin destinations. Amaan, founder of hifive, is an undergraduate student studying Entrepreneurship and Management. His platform empowers tip givers and service employees through a cashless, web-based tipping and service review platform.
Sujoy started tuktuk his freshman year at UT when his roommate had access to a car, making it easier to explore Austin compared to many other freshmen. His sophomore year he didn’t have access to a vehicle, and Sujoy knew how much he was missing out on. Although transportation like Capital Metro, Uber, and Lyft existed, money and time made them inconvenient options. Given that carpooling is convenient and affordable, the tuktuk team’s primary goal is to expand accessibility in Austin, especially parts surrounding campus, in an alternative form of ridesharing.
Amaan’s inspiration for hifive rooted from his experience working for his family’s business in the hospitality industry. “One time, a customer asked to give a tip to a maid and I responded that I would pass it to her. The customer was very skeptical of the money not going to the right place, and that’s where my idea sparked.” Amaan wanted to create a platform in which you could show appreciation to those in the service and hospitality industry, and hifive was developed as a result.
Sujoy and Amaan’s collaboration began when Sujoy and his cofounder began looking for a no-frills mobile transaction payment platform for tuktuk. Sujoy stated:
“We knew what hifive was capable of and so we reached out to the founders. We knew we could mutually benefit each other — for hifive, the opportunity to expand and brand, and for us (tuktuk), secure a bulletproof way to integrate fast within one week. Working with hifive on the payment aspect ensured us to solidify and focus on other features of the app in time for Startup Crawl.”
The two attended Austin Startup Crawl, an informal event where you can pitch a product and network with other companies, alongside their teams to join many other entrepreneurs participating in the event. Sujoy Purkayastha: “You’re likely to find something that resonates with you here. There are so many demographics being represented at Startup Crawl. You can be young or old but everyone is like-minded in creating great ideas. The special thing about Austin is the startup culture. It’s great we both have a great foothold here. We’re in a very special situation which we hope is set for success.”
When asked about the impact of UT and Austin startup ecosystems on Amaan’s startup journey he stated:
“Ever since I started hifive, the support from UT has been great. There are just so many opportunities out there. Don’t be discouraged about rejection or failure. The idea and passion for digging is more important. Sujoy and I would be involved with different parts of the entrepreneurship support within UT and Austin. The cool part is you can piggyback and bounce ideas off other entrepreneurs and evolve together. There are many opportunities to acquire funding, which is such a huge opportunity for students without risking financial loss. As an undergrad, the university is your entire IP!”
Amaan and Sujoy are both looking for software engineers to join their teams and strongly emphasize to not get discouraged when building a startup.