Featured Startup: PSU Pledge

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Interview with PSU Pledge co-founder Cory Trimm

Q&A with PSU Pledge co-founder Garrett Miller

Q: What is PSUPledge.com and how does it work?

A: Put most simply, PSU Pledge is a Twitter-driven donations engine benefitting the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. PSU Pledgers simply “authorize” the PSU Pledge application to their Twitter account, make a pledge per tweet, credit an organization if you like, and watch your total pledge grow between now and THON – and see how your friends are doing as well. Once you reach the $50 threshold, you’re able to verify your pledge – lending some credibility to large donations. What’s unique about PSU Pledge is that we don’t handle your Twitter account information, or your payment information at all. We use Twitter’s OAuth API system for all Twitter functions, so we never see your password, and all donations are still handled through THON’s in-place donation system.

Q: When did you start working on PSUPledge.com

A: I began conceptual work on PSU Pledge back in late July, around the same time that the NCAA sanctions came out. Daily, all I saw was negative publicity surrounding the University community that I love, and in my frustration, I was inspired to do something impactful for Penn State. Since then, this has been a project I’ve worked tirelessly on in between sleeping and working full time, and while exhausting, was also immensely rewarding.

Q: What was your goal when you started developing the site?

A: Our goal was simply to create a new, innovative way for people to direct money towards the world’s largest student-run philanthropy, by doing something they already do, and making it fun. By “gamifying” it through allowing PSU Pledgers to compare themselves and their organizations against their friends, as well as share their pledge totals, we hoped that this would encourage users to perhaps tweet more, spreading the word about THON in the process.

Q: How has the goal changed?

A: The overall goal of PSU Pledge has not changed – to simply be a fun, innovative way to drive fundraising to a remarkable cause, all For The Kids. However, from the outset, we did have to make some scope changes simply based on time available to devote to the project. That said, we’re looking to the future, and still have plenty of ideas of what we hope is yet to come.

Q: What’s PSUPledge’s future OR What can we expect from this group of developers in the future?

A: PSU Pledge’s future is to grow – we want to expand our team, enhance our site and its functionality, and add support for other social networking platforms. To eventually move into the space of an even more comprehensive web application, more sharing options and better support for mobile devices, we think that PSU Pledge has a very bright future ahead of it – getting there just takes time and talent.

Follow @PSUPledge on Twitter | Visit PSUPledge.com to learn more