UNIVERSITY PARK – While many college students graduate with hopes of finding a good job at a company, senior Alex Mann has already secured a good job — at his own company.
Mann, a finance major and engineering entrepreneurship minor, is the founder of AM Analytics, a social media and market intelligence platform that aggregates information about a client’s brand by tracking live conversation through media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook.
AM Analytics creates an analysis of not only what is being said, but also what the catalyst is, why the user feels that way, where the users are from, and why it matters. The data is then used to generate a visual representation of the analysis through charts and graphs, which the client may use to recognize and track trends to allow for more targeted and efficient marketing.
“If you’re in the fashion industry, for example, a lot of your strategy is going to be guessing at the next hot trends,” said Mann. “If you guess right, you’re going to be successful. If you guess wrong, you’re going lose a lot of money on misdirected marketing.”
“But what if the fashion industry could track trends before they tip into the mainstream?”
Through the service offered by AM Analytics, clients could see what their consumers are saying, where they are from, and what they are talking about for the season. One feature of the platform includes a generated map that displays the concentration and spread of trends in cities and across the United States, helping marketers and advertisers target their efforts.
“Instead of consumers getting bombarded with irrelevant advertising and marketing campaigns, we will assist businesses in creating a two-way conversation with their customers,” Mann said. “What we want to do is create a relevant dialogue.”
Mann, who has interned at Goldman Sachs for the last two summers, is no stranger to entrepreneurial ventures. Upon entering his senior year, he knew he wanted to start a business, so he and a friend decided to launch a mutual fund for Generation Y investors.
“We spent a few months writing business plans and pitching to relevant investors, and we realized we were over our head,” said Mann. “It was an ego check for me. I’m a college student — I don’t have the capital, the track record, the resources, the accounting to start a mutual fund. It’s a huge endeavor.”
After his mutual fund idea fell through, one of Mann’s mentors, Howard Lindzon, founder of StockTwits.com, advised him to utilize the online resources that were available to him at little or no cost. With the rising popularity of Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, Mann decided tap into these resources and launch his data analysis company, AM Analytics.
Being a student, an entrepreneur and a business owner puts Mann in a unique situation. Along with managing his coursework for the semester, he must also focus on his company?s needs, delicately balancing both his work life and student life. This, he says, is the most challenging part of his endeavor.
“While my friends are out being social, I’m often in my room on my computer coding, reading, blogging, and talking with a business partner in San Francisco, sometimes until two or three in the morning,” said Mann.
“But, it’s worth it,” he says. “I want to be happy with whatever I am doing, and the best way to do that is to be working for myself.”
With a positive attitude, a hard-driven work ethic, and an unbelievable passion for his work, Mann is an inspiration to his peers. The advice he would share with other students hoping to start a business: go do it.
“Ideas are cheap, and many students have them. However, most are too afraid to chase their ideas because there is this predisposition that they will fail miserably. The college system tells us that the only path is to get a job working for someone else after they graduate,” said Mann. “But, it doesn’t need to be that way.”
“There are a lot of problems in our country right now, and they’ll ultimately be fixed through entrepreneurs and their ideas. If at any point there was the opportunity to make a career out of a passion and the intent to fix a problem, it’s now.”