Alex Eisenach, ’12, business administration major with a concentration in marketing, Joe Harris, ’13, leadership studies major, Lucas Stensby, ’12, business administration major with concentrations in finance and marketing, Jackson Knox, ’12, philosophy, politics, economics and law (PPEL) major, and sophomore Austin Butler are all members of the Sigma Phil Epsilon fraternity and, more recently, business partners. 

Butler, who grew up in Richmond, Va., has always been a stylish dresser—on a budget.  He delayed his first part-time job experience by selling back his designer clothing and watches on eBay. 

“I was really successful, because I’d sell an item and price it slightly below what others had listed for an identical item,” he said.  “That was always just part of my slight income as a teenager.”

Once he enrolled at the University of Richmond, Butler kept an idea book chronicling potential business concepts.   One idea on Butler’s notepad was a free website, exclusively for college students, where they could buy and sell items from trusted classmate sellers. 

Butler had a fortuitous encounter when he floated the idea to fraternity brother, Eisenach, who was dabbling in writing html code.  “I was so excited about the idea of an online college classified site that I bought several books on web programming and design,” Eisenach said. 

From there, the idea of an online college classified site went from an idea to reality and took on the name of Uhubb, LLC.  Eisenach was able to translate his business curriculum into practice through Uhubb.  “I decided to get involved with Uhubb because of my entrepreneurial spirit and love for the idea,” he recalled. 

“It was the perfect opportunity to apply my business education to a real world business venture.”

Eisenach, Butler, and Knox spent the entire summer of 2011 developing the website and meeting weekly to prepare for Uhubb’s launch this fall. 

Uhubb self-identifies as a college classified, a kind of online marketplace that connects student buyers and sellers.  Any student with a “.edu” email account at the University can register on www.uhubb.com and post items to be sold or buy items that are listed.  Item categories on the site include: books, apparel, furniture, electronics, and a miscellaneous category. 

Instead of bidding on items like a user commonly would on eBay, students have the option to “contact seller,” and work out the price with the person on campus who has listed the item.  Butler said the group intentionally created this feature, so that they could stay removed from the negotiation process. 

While the site started at the University of Richmond, six other colleges and universities are registered and operating; among them are state schools like Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth University.  Students from unrepresented colleges can request that their school be added on Uhubb’s website.

Uhubb- Richmond currently has 100 registered users and receives several thousand visits each month.  To keep up with the traffic, the trio added Stensby and Harris.  The group has defined their roles more clearly, and they get together as a team once a week.

Eisenach is currently working on creating a mobile app for Uhubb.  Harris concentrates his time on marketing and coordinates promotional materials both on and off campus.  Stensby also assists the team’s marketing efforts by establishing student contacts at schools that Uhubb has already partnered with or would like to partner with in the future. 

Knox works with Eisenach on improving user experience on the site and manages team visits to partner schools.  Butler, Uhubb’s inventor, spends his time managing the accounting of the company, investors and investments, and has his hand in each area that his team members focus their work on. 

Over spring break, the Uhubb team has made plans to travel to New York University and meet with previously-established contacts to strategize on how to further promote their existing site.

Still, the five-man team, whose academic experience spans across schools and disciplines, is nowhere near finished accomplishing their goals for Uhubb. 

“We are very proud of how far we have come but have a long way to go to achieve our vision,” Eisenach said.  “We are constantly developing the website with new features.” 

Stensby echoed Eisenach’s sentiments.  “I like to look at Uhubb as a learning experience,” he said. 

“This is the first time any of us have done anything like this. We're definitely going to make mistakes along the way, but we will learn from them and adapt. We will all grow from this experience and learn skills we can apply to our future careers.”

Are you a student interested in registering on Uhubb to buy or sell items?  Visit their site and sign up with your richmond.edu account. You can also stay connected with Uhubb via Facebook or Twitter.