A small problem sets the entrepreneurial wheel in Milan Kordestani’s mind spinning into a colorful blur.
As a freshman at Colorado College last year, the teen from California thought it would have been really useful if he could have hired an older student who had taken similar classes to tutor him.
“I could have asked, ‘What is this specific professor like? What is this class like?’ ” he said Monday from his home in California.
Having a fellow student make a copy of a research project, clean his room or deliver a midnight snack — for a nominal fee — also would have enhanced his college experience, Kordestani thought.
In January, he and high school friend Sabine Rizvi, who attends New York University, embarked on finding a 21st-century solution.
They came up with an application for college students to get basic tasks done, an app Kordestani thinks will “revolutionize college life.”
Although he didn’t know anything about developing a smartphone application, Kordestani is as familiar with starting a business as he is with studying for a test.
The 19-year-old son of Twitter Executive Chairman Omid Kordestani has founded two other companies.
When he was a high school sophomore, he started Milan Farms, featuring a humane and organic system to raise poultry and grow pure saffron.
Kordestani also pioneered an independent record label, Guin Records, which produces, promotes and distributes music for emerging hip-hop and rhythm-and-blues artists.
His parents, who emigrated from Iran, instilled in him many valuable traits.
“Both of my parents are advocates of: Success comes from what you’re passionate in. And they’re supportive of my ventures,” he said.
“To see them having started from so little to where they are now — my mother a philanthropist, and my father in the technology sphere — and their dedication to what they love, it’s great to see that sort of motivation.”
“Dormzi” will debut on the NYU campus in New York City on Saturday and next year expand to other colleges. In developing the app, Kordestani now is familiar with obtaining a patent and a trademark, researching and designing a product, then testing, reworking and launching it.
Here’s how the free app for iOS and Androids works. NYU students will be able to sign up and either be a Dormzi or a Dormer. Dormzis are the worker bees, and Dormers are the students in need of services.
Students submit requests — “Need my room vacuumed tomorrow” or “Looking for a physics tutor for one hour this afternoon” — and other students respond to fill the need.
Feedback from students at CC and NYU helped Kordestani and Rizzi refine the function.
“Users wanted a seamless transition between the work app and the use app,” Kordestani said.
“The same student who wants his bedroom cleaned also may want to be a tutor or run an errand for someone.”
Scheduling an appeal ahead of time, such as “I want my room cleaned at 2 a.m. because I’m having a party the next day” also emerged from suggestions from classmates.
The app connects students and includes a predetermined pricing system. Vacuuming a room might cost $5 to $10, for example, Rizvi said.
Kordestani and Rizvi take a small percentage of the fee as revenue.
“The purpose of the design and the way we’ve intended it is we don’t want to limit the student population or be an elitist app,” Kordestani said.
“It’s more of a community of people helping out each other to have someone do a student’s laundry and that same student tutors you. It’s a seamless action of organizing it and helping people out.”
The app could come to the CC campus, where Kordestani likely will major in agricultural business, as early as next year. For safety purposes, it’s limited to only students living on a specific college or university campus.
“There’s a lot of creativity and innovation at CC,” he said. “Students want to make the world a better place and are constantly coming up with ideas. It’s been a great space to make this in; everyone wants to bounce ideas off of you.”