Dorm-room startups

Issy, Bowdoin


Two of the Six Hottest Dorm-Room Startups as named by CNN Money Magazine  originated @inthecac. Students founded NumbersPay and Smathers and Branson at Bates and Bowdoin, respectively.

Steven Pecora, Darrin Cromwell, Matthew Conetta and Cosmin Ghotta, founders of NumbersPay, described their business strategy of cutting out the middle man in order to secure the best wholesale prices:

“At, we display a wide array of products from retailers at abnormally low prices. When you sign up as a NumbersPay user, you can pledge to purchase any of the products we show. For the deals to actually go through, we need a minimum number of pledges before the deal expires. When this happens, the retailers are happy, the deal is official and your order ships at the end of the time limit. If the minimum number of pledges isn’t reached by the time limit, the deal is cancelled and you aren’t charged a thing.”

NumbersPay seems to hinge on the (true) presupposition that people at the same colleges like the same things. Just ask the cashiers at Polo Ralph Lauren and J. Crew for verification.

Smathers and Branson key fob

The business strategy of Smathers and Branson is much more straightforward: providing a place to purchase needlepoint belts in case you don’t have a devoted girlfriend to make you one. Apparently, this is certainly the case, as sales have grown 40% annually since the company’s founding in 2003. The wide variety of patterns and styles of belts, headbands, key fobs, flasks, wallets and dog collars inspires a desire to purchase the Smathers and Branson life and run away to Nantucket forever (or at least until school starts in the fall). At least the Bowdoin Bookstore sells Smathers and Branson Bowdoin key fobs. Mr. Smathers and Mr. Branson, if you every want to throw a deal to ‘Cac students, you know where to find us (, or our friends over at NumbersPay).

Hats off to NumbersPay and Smathers and Branson for reppin the ‘Cac in the entrepreneurial world!

One thought on “Dorm-room startups

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