CONTACT INFO, A HANDSHAKE AWAY
A GIRL ON A TRAIN AND A MISSED CONNECTION INSPIRE A HIGH-TECH WAY TO STAY IN TOUCH.

SECOND PRIZE & BEST PRESENTATION – UNDERGRADUATE: FREST

By Bob Woods 

The Business Plan Competition judges were surprised when Dylan Cohen (BS ’17) jumped off the Storer Auditorium stage to lead off his presentation. They didn’t quite know what to make of it when he shook their hands and then suggested they “friend” one another on Facebook via their smartphones. “Just kidding,” Cohen said, further perplexing his adjudicators.

It all made sense, however, once Cohen hopped back onstage and began seriously pitching his idea for FREST, an amalgam of “friend” and “request.” FREST lets people exchange contact information by touching wearable devices – the handshake routine – that wirelessly transfer and store the data with a mobile app. “It acts as an electronic business card,” Cohen explains.

The idea for FREST occurred to Cohen in a way as unexpected as his Storer stage stunt. “I was on a train in Australia last year, bound for Sydney,” he recalls, “sitting across from a gorgeous redhead girl.” They started talking. Turned out, she was from New York, as is Cohen. Suddenly, the train came to her stop, she scooted off, and the two never exchanged contact information, much to Cohen’s chagrin. “I’ll never see her again,” he lamented at the time. “Later, I thought, ‘There has to be a better way to meet people.’”

Admittedly not really a business type, Cohen is headed to Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in August. And although before the competition he had not yet built an actual prototype, he had written a business plan. Based on that and a leap of faith in his entrepreneurial talents, the competition judges deemed Cohen a winner – not only of second prize but also the Best Presentation award.

Spring 2017
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