The University of Nebraska System has released the newest episode of its "Leading Nebraska" podcast series, featuring a team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduates who built an app to help support local businesses through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Luke Bogus, Jarrod Aerts and Jacob Peddicord, all graduates of UNL’s prestigious Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management, began designing Brim, a mobile ordering app, in 2019 to help address a gap between large coffee chains that can generate significant online orders through their apps and local businesses that can’t afford their own app. Brim can be used by any business using the Square payment system.
The team envisioned Brim as a business opportunity – but when COVID-19 hit around the same time that the app launched, they shifted their plan to help the community instead. They never moved the app to a paid mode, and it remains free for local coffee shops. It’s currently being used by several Lincoln and Omaha shops.
"At the time, a lot of these places didn’t have dine-in options. If it could help transact a few orders per day and a few hundred dollars per week for the shops – especially in the times where shops are closed – the app would give a safe and secure option for the shops to actually stay afloat," Bogus says in the podcast.
The team credits Brim’s success in part to UNL’s Raikes School, which prepares students to help solve critical challenges. The Raikes School attracts talented students who go on to become the next generation of technology and business leaders – students like Bogus, who now works for Microsoft. A native of Columbus, he hopes to someday return to Nebraska.
"The Raikes School gave us the confidence to actually take what we learn in the classroom and turn it into something that can really help the community," Bogus says.
"I know I wouldn’t be where I am professionally or personally without the values and education I gained in Nebraska. I think it was right for me to give back. And I believe the best way I can give back is moving here and really impacting the business and tech sector here someday."
The NU System’s "Leading Nebraska" podcast shares stories of researchers, students and educators across the four campuses who are growing the state’s workforce and quality of life. Podcast topics include health care, agriculture, workforce development, national defense, entrepreneurship and others, featuring experts from UNL, UNO, UNK and UNMC.
Listeners may follow the "Leading Nebraska" podcast here.