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Inno Under 25: Buzly founders Abubeker Hussen and Srinjay Verma pitch university-centric app – The Business Journals

Sacramento Inno Under 25 highlights some of the entrepreneurs and technologists under the age of 25 in the local innovation community.
Abubeker Hussen, 22
Srinjay Verma, 22
Abubeker Hussen and Srinjay Verma launched their university-centric social and online communication app Buzly this year on campus at California State University Sacramento.
The student-only app connects students with others on campus and allows for micro-community communications for college groups and clubs, both for them to communicate to members and to attract new members. It could be on 50 campuses by the spring.
For the schools, Buzly gets their other online outreach products in front of students in one place, said Verma, who is also a full-time student of computer engineering.
“Colleges have a lot of unused software they are paying for,” he said, adding that Buzly allows the schools to link to their technology through a centralized, trusted source. The universities can use the site to send out information to students and potentially send out safety alerts.
Buzly has 12,500 users at Sac State, and it is queuing up 16 more colleges to launch service. The company plans to be on 50 campuses in the second quarter next year, he said.
Hussen, co-founder and chief product officer at Buzly, was working last academic year on developing a social app to help coordinate sales of student items on campus — mostly textbooks — to help students sell directly to other students.
In developing that idea, he discovered “there is a huge disconnect to students here on campus.”
The two launched Buzly to connect students on campus with each other and with the school in a trusted environment.
Hussen is a mechanical engineering student at Sac State, though he’s currently taking time off from school to grow Buzly, which launched earlier this year.
Hussen handles onboarding, customer experience, client experience and customer relationships for the startup.
That’s a growing job, with Buzly getting ready to go live at schools including University of California Davis, California State University Chico and University of California Los Angeles.
“Buzly creates communities and provides tailored updates directly to students, giving them the relevant updates to exactly what they want,” said Laura Good, CEO of StartupSac, a nonprofit that supports the local innovation community.
The student-only app has students pre-registered at colleges where it plans to go live. It hasn’t gone live at the other schools because Buzly wants to work out bugs before expanding, Verma said. The company plans to have representatives on campuses as they go live.
Buzly includes a client-facing product for students and a dashboard product for schools, who are paying for the service. The company won’t discuss pricing. Colleges pay for access to the service, which, in turn, allows the schools to reach out to students quickly on mobile devices.
Buzly has four employees, who are not currently taking salaries. Its efforts have been funded by the founders, with the help of winning pitch competitions. Buzly’s staff works remotely, at coworking spaces and at The Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Sac State.
Buzly won a $20,000 prize at the National College E-fest Competition in Minneapolis. The company won $1,500 in October at the Startup Challenge at the Carlsen Center. And it won $1,000 at the College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics pitch competition at Sac State. Pitch competitions have had the founders travel to Atlanta, Minnesota, Long Beach and Los Angeles. It also won the Little Bang competition in Davis.
“It’s been a ride for sure,” Verma said.
Verma was an intern for a year in 2020 at CleanStart, the Sacramento-based nonprofit that supports entrepreneurs in green technology. During part of that year Verma was also an intern with telecom company T-Mobile. He also interned BlastX, a digital marketing analytics company.
Hussen is from South Sacramento. He likes playing and watching basketball, and he’s been interested and involved in robotics since high school. He’s been a mentor for four years for the FIRST Robotics Competition team SEStematic Eliminators of Sacramento. The competition was started 30 years ago by engineer, inventor and Segway developer Dean Kamen. Hussen’s interest in robotics led him to seek a degree in mechanical engineering, he said.
The company is applying for Y Combinator, the Mountain View-based accelerator that has hosted success stories such as Airbnb Inc. (Nasdaq: ABNB), Stripe Inc. and DoorDash Inc. (NYSE: DASH). It is also considering applying for the Growth Factory incubator in Rocklin.
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