The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team. Bryon Pierson Jr. is up.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Bryon Pierson Jr. and I ran away from home at 15, won a court case for my independence, and self-funded college, taking on over $60K in debt, while learning from mistakes throughout the process.
I spent the last six years studying the college financial process and housing concerns, going through a few entrepreneurial and tech training programs since 2019, I studied LGBT enrollment and retention measures and best practices and advocated/still advocating for minority students in college life in regards to housing and funding for school.
I have worked in politics (on both sides of the aisle), been a resident hall assistant, and I have worked at an international college access organization called Boys Hope Girls Hope.
My life experiences and work experiences have come together to recruit a team and work with them to build EDUrain. EDUrain exists because through research we found that Landlords that want student renters have difficulty targeting students effectively.
We enter unique partnerships with universities to build officially licensed + endorsed off-campus housing marketplaces that are widely used by students, giving landlords direct access to students.
What did it take/how did you get started?
Well a small lifetime of being a community activist/folk-style wrestling fanatic (I wrestled from 7th grade to my sophomore year of college, and I was an assistant wrestling coach at O'Fallon Township High School for 3 years) positioned me to be in the right spot to start college off-campus housing marketplaces that EDUrain builds in 2022.
My personal story is I have 60,000 in student debt, I moved 7 times in college, and I had 22 roommates. I was never evicted and I always paid rent. Through research, we found that Landlords that want student renters have difficulty targeting students effectively. We enter unique partnerships with universities to build officially licensed + endorsed off-campus housing marketplaces that are widely used by students, giving landlords direct access to students.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
To be the go-to solution for students’ off campus housing needs and ultimately be the first step to sound financial decision making and independence. We want to make individuals powerful independent citizens by offering them the correct growth platform in education.
What drives / motivates you on a daily basis?
As, a former foster-care youth, to be in this position to support students with issues that I had is incredible. Even the name of EDUrain means something.
EDU is short for education and Rain is the name of my sister who died when I was 13. It is named this because I believe that higher education can build successful families regardless of your background. Colleges give students access to experts in their fields, mental health professionals, mentors, guaranteed housing, structure, a funding source, and usually every employee at colleges gives students a smile, because college employees know students are our future!
What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do?
Be nice to everyone, look for coaches and mentors, apply for help, do the research, and let users and customers validate your data points.
What has been the hardest part of your business journey?
Coming to terms that people no matter what I say or do will doubt I can do anything let alone grow a tech company. One guy said I think you are a "fly-by-night guy". In these moments I have to keep my composure and keep moving while using results and PR to tell my story.
How have you managed burnout thus far?
I came from foster care and I cry at every small win I get because I know where I come from.
Burnout doesn't exist to me, because I am in a position I never thought I could make it to. Burnout isn't even on my radar.
Actually, I have to manage my excitement because that can be too overwhelming for people.
What are a few resources that you'd recommend?
List the founders
Bryon Dawayne Pierson Jr., Arron Zheng, Adam Knox-warsaw
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?
# of Employees?
When did you start?
How much did it cost to launch?
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised?
$6,000 Customer Discovery Grant (I-corps) $10,000 Tiny Fellowship- Edtech Incubator (4.0 schools) $25,000 Fin-Tech Pitch Competition (Techrise Chicago) = $41,000 in grants
We are under $1,000 at this point
Around $683,000 (The hardest part is the college partnerhsips, after we achieve that getting landlords as customers is easy)
What's the #1 thing you need right now?
We need more college partnerships for off-campus housing marketplaces that are made free to colleges and it's students.