A new startup targets broke students – Glassjar

For many of us university was all about perfecting the balance between disciplined study and outrageous merriment, while catering to the constant demand for money. How much fun is too much? Who pays for what, when, and what happens if they don’t?

George Smith, currently doing a Masters in Engineering Management at the University of Canterbury, aims to help future students answer those questions and practice financial prudence with his startup Glassjar.

“At the moment Glassjar is a financial tool that will allow tenants to manage group finances,” he says.

“In the future we want to expand out and create property management software, and have that as a full ecosystem for the rental market.”

Glassjar was born out of necessity. Two years ago, George moved into his first flat with 7 first-time flatmates.

“It was a heck of a lot of fun,” George told us, “but we were just horrible at managing our finances and throughout the year that proved to be quite costly. So we needed a solution, and it was at that point that we designed the first version of our software.”

The three-man team behind Glassjar is currently focusing on building a robust web interface for their program. They have decided to go with a SaaS model, and once that is fully functional, iOS and Android apps will follow.

The development of Glassjar has been all in-house, but is has received mentoring, funding, and support from the UC Innovators program. The student-run university initiative, managed by Dr. Rachel Wright, aims to nurture student innovators and develop entrepreneurial communities on campus.

Students enter by submitting an application which outlines the perceived problem, their concept, what they have gathered from what the market looks like, and how the program can help them.

When they are accepted, they are given some funding from UC Innovators. Glassjar’s capital is comprised of a mixture of sources.

George said, “We have the prize money that we took from the entré competition, and then we received funding as well from UC innovators, and then finally I’ve contributed a bit of my own capital.”

Glassjar is putting that money to good use. A launch date has been set around mid February, and they are fastidiously working toward that goal.

“This will catch return of the majority of student tenants, which will be our launch market, but at that point it will be available to everyone nationwide.”

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