The entrepreneurial bug bit TCU alumnae Kathleen Ward early. It took less than two years as a financial analyst in Silicon Valley for her to realize the dream of starting a business. In February, she launched uChilla.com and has not looked back.
This classifieds website specifically caters to college students––users must have an .edu email address in order to register as a buyer or seller on the website. The idea is reminiscent of the early stages of Facebook, when the social media giant was reserved exclusively for college students. Items available for purchase may range from furniture and textbooks to football tickets and artwork.
Ward was struck with the idea when she was graduating from TCU and needed furniture for her new apartment. “I thought it would be easier to buy it cheap from another college student,” she said. “I didn’t want to go to a random person’s house because I was always kind of scared.”
Almost anyone can buy or sell items on sites like craigslist.org. uChilla provides an added level of security. “The great thing is that everyone has a profile, so it’s not just a random person,” Ward said. “We know who the people are.” Still, as a precaution, she stresses that all transactions be made in a public location. Additionally, selling items online is an easy way to earn extra cash. uChilla removes the time and cost of shipping items, making it a more appealing alternative to similar websites, according to Ward.
Currently, the site has 224 registered users. Ward expects that number to grow as she expands to UNT, UTA, TCC and UT Dallas this fall.