UBEntertained — really…
NICOLE COLEMAN – Senior Arts & Life Editor
Seth Prager and Seth Meyerowitz have been best friends since high school. Back on the South Shore of Long Island, their families live around the block from each other, and at UB, they have been roommates since freshman year. They are both fifth year seniors majoring in communication with the same adventurous cluster of friends.
It seems only logical that they would become business partners too.
The curly haired duo, (Prager, red, and Meyerowitz’s jet black), launched their Web site UBEntertained.com Thursday, followed by one large launch party on Main St. They call the site a one-stop guide for every UB student’s need, from restaurants to off campus housing, or even finding something interesting to do on the weekend.
“It’s an information site run by students for students,” Meyerowitz said, the CEO of UBE, Inc. “The collaboration of things we have going on you can’t find anywhere else. That’s the lore of our site.”
The idea is to make it cheaper and easier for students to enjoy their Buffalo experience, whether they’re out-of-towners experiencing the city for the first time or natives discovering it’s hidden gems.
Meyerowitz attempted a similar Web site while at JFK High School for the New York City area, but soon realized the market was entirely too big, and the product far from novel.
While at UB Prager and Meyerowitz saw a need for an information Web site in the Buffalo area so they did what any new business partners would do, they sat down over a couple of beers and drew out the blueprints. When a Web site designer brought their creation to life with the graphic design help of their roommate Chad Weiss, also a fifth year communications major, the next great idea was born.
“It just looks sexy,” said Prager of the site, president of UBE, Inc. “We heard the music and we were done. It just kind of grabbed me, like wow.”
A similar site was started for students at Emory University, misedukated.com. The founder, Matt Graham, has been featured on CNN and is now making six figures a year. He gave the two partners hope that their idea would succeed. They figure if it can work there, it can work here.
The site is divided into six efficient sections. UBHungry provides virtual tours, online menus and reviews of Buffalo’s restaurants so that students know where to find the cheapest eats, while [UBOutLate] has up to the minute information on the best bars and the area’s hottest parties, including where to find the best deals.
UBSchooled is a throwback to the academic side, with a database of lecture notes and syllabi to prevent the early semester stress of dropping and adding unwanted classes. UBSeen will hold a Facebook-like collection of photos from the bar scene the previous evening, taken courtesy of “Chicks with Pics.”
UBLiving provides the 101 on off campus housing, including virtual tours and a future furniture and electronics exchange, and UBBored offers every attraction Buffalo has to keep one, well, not bored.
“This is something that can be used by everybody,” Meyerowitz said. “We’re not trying to give a bad name to UB, we’re just trying to help students out.”
The site also endorses two local charities, FuelForTruth.org, an organization aimed at creating awareness about Israel and the Middle East, and SKI4E.com, aimed at providing funds for families of children with diseases like cancer. Donations were accepted at their launch party, which featured a free cover at the Steer, Mojo’s and Room 101 from 10 p.m. until midnight. Students were also given the chance to win free hats, shirts, mix CDs and gift certificates.
The next major event UBEntertained.com will host is a benefit for Fuel for Truth on March 3 at Club W. The party will feature an open bar from 10 p.m. until 12 p.m.
“What we’re about has good intentions,” Meyerowitz said.
Last year Meyerowitz scored a marketing and advertising internship in downtown Buffalo with Mark Adler, a professor in the communications department, which has proved invaluable in the pair’s endeavor. Prager, who is also a political science major and taking a course to become a paralegal, has taken over the publicity and promotions side of their business.
Launching their first business while still finishing up their bachelor’s degrees has required a juggling act of meetings and classes throughout the day, one that has yet to compromise their friendship.
“Every Monday he has a new list of stuff for me to do,” Prager said.
Both partners have approximately $3,000 invested in the project. They have managed to keep initial costs low by bartering, especially with their friends. The three establishments that hosted the launch party have received free advertising on the site, a fee that normally runs $50 to $100 a month, or up to $1,000 for a year.
For now, the two are enjoying being first time business owners. When they recently received their corporate seal in the mail they strolled around the house stamping everything in sight.
“When you actually become a business, it really hits you,” Meyerowitz said. “I was very lost. This is a great outlet for me now.”
Already they are scoping out their next business venture, a Web site called OrangeUEntertained.com for students at Syracuse University. They know that failure, however, is 100 percent possible, but that won’t stop them from appreciating the experience.
“We’re maturing through this whole process,” Meyerowitz said. “We created a business on our own, we figured it out for ourselves.”
“We’re becoming very business savvy,” Prager said, finishing his business partner’s thought in best friend fashion. “The experience is priceless.”
Their Web site, UBEntertained.com, is now available for student use.