RIT students have an eye for entrepreneurship. One in 90 freshmen has already started a business before he or she reaches RIT.
Robert Verderame, a second-year information security and forensics major from Abington, Pa., not only started his own business during his senior year in high school, he started a business that already features an award-winning product.
Verderame created the K12 Apps Library Reservation System, a Web application for managing room and equipment reservations in school libraries. Developed with the assistance of librarians, the product makes it easier for teachers and administrative staff to schedule time in the library. Consumers have been so pleased with the product that it was selected as a Top 100 Product of 2010 by District Administration, a monthly magazine devoted to school-district leaders.
“I am pleased with how the business has progressed so far,” says Verderame. “The product is in its infancy and I am hoping that this honor will bring national attention to it.”
Verderame had been seeking an opportunity to launch his own business but did not want to make the leap until he found just the right niche.
“I am an entrepreneur by nature,” he says. “I was looking for a product or idea that would make money and was not in the market.”
Conventional pen and paper methods had traditionally been used in libraries for recording reservations, making it difficult for everyone to see what rooms and equipment were available at particular times. Observing this, Verderame realized there had to be a better way.
Now there is. The K12 Apps Library Reservation System, developed by Verderame’s company, Verfirm Education and Business, allows librarians to manage the entire reservation process online and instantly generate statistics for use in annual reports and other media.
The key benefit, according to Verderame, is the system’s efficiency. The product saves countless hours of time for both teachers and library staff. The application, which can be accessed from anywhere in the world, also contains a function that allows librarians to compile reports about room and equipment usage.
“It is important for administrators to see that their libraries are valuable and worth investing money in,” he says.
Verderame continues to develop his company while he pursues his degree. Despite his success, information security is his passion and that is the career path he plans to follow after graduation. What that means for Verfirm remains a question.
“Information security is a very challenging field that will not leave me with a lot of extra time,” he says. “However, the opportunity to start a company is extremely rewarding, and I enjoy seeing how the product I created can benefit other people.”