Thanks to the new addition in the Student Center, students no longer have to go out to rent a DVD or video game or re-watch the same movies on instant Netflix.
ClickAFlick, Inc., a DVD and game rental kiosk, has been brought to campus after months of hard work from two of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s own students.
Joseph Getts and Matthew Fishman, both junior entrepreneurial studies majors, have put “blood, sweat and tears” into making this possible, said Getts.
Getts and Fishman met in an interpersonal business skills class as sophomores and found that they had a lot in common when it came to their ambition and ideas for the future and their careers.
The two have been working at Agent Anything, an eBay-like business for services based in New York City. They are heavily involved in PR and marketing for the company.
The idea for ClickAFlick, Inc. came about through a series of events. To begin with, FDU is nationally recognized for its entrepreneurial studies major, yet Getts noticed that no one had been taking advantage of that.
In Fall 2011, Getts and Fishman created Launch Pad, an entrepreneurial club on campus. All students are welcome to join, even if they are not studying in that field.
“Business has a way of coming around to everyone,” Getts said.
Although Launch Pad has a solid executive board, the club needs sufficient funds for all that its members wish to achieve.
For example, next semester they hope to assemble a business panel to help tweak ideas for a junior business class and possibly give grants to these students based on their efforts. The ultimate goal for the club is to become a self-sustainable entity, just like a company.
The first annual pitch contest was held last semester, and Getts and Fishman thought this would be a great way to get the idea for a rental kiosk heard.
The process began over the summer, when they created a one-page business plan and had a conference call, during which the two were told their financials were completely off. But they welcomed the constructive criticism.
Ultimately, their idea placed second in the contest and was given a $2,000 grant.
With this money, the search began for a quality machine that was both visually appealing and inexpensive, which proved quite difficult.
They looked into DVD Now and other places before finding Signifi, a company that makes ATMs, food/drink machines and, of course, movie/video game consoles.
After receiving a quote, an estimated price of $19,000 would cover 500 cases for discs, 500 rfid stickers (able to recognize the movie through scanning), shipping and handling, installation and “all that good stuff,” said Getts. Yet that left $17,000 to make up the difference that the grant did not cover.
And so the search continued.
Getts began calling relatives and banks about possible loans. After being rejected from family because they were unsure about the idea and not receiving phone calls back from the banks, he decided to look into leasing a kiosk. Yet he was deterred once again when he and his father read about the “absurd” 25 percent interest rate.
Finally, Getts contacted Paula Star, a loan outreach coordinator from UCEDC, a federally-backed non-profit economic development corporation. Star was impressed with the idea and said that this is exactly the direction the company would like to go and put their name on.
Star even came to campus to make sure there was a strong support group and that it was more than just an idea.
After three recommendations, one from Getts’ father and the others from Professor Arthur Schultzer and Dr. Ethne Swartz, they received a $12,000 loan. Getts personally put in $2,500 of his own money into the project and his father loaned him $6,000.
Throughout this process, Schultzer has been a good source of legal information and Swartz has provided many networking connections.
For Getts and Fishman, the whole thing has been a learning experience.
A contract was signed through 2019 for the ClickAFlick kiosk. They also had to take out business insurance and life insurance, meet with a credit card transaction company, and will continue to pay for inventory on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, depending on what movies people want to watch and how often.
Getts has been using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter multiple times daily, not only as promotion devices but also as a way of choosing what movies the public wants to see. The box essentially has to sell itself; there is no one sitting at a desk selling the DVDs, so advertising is important. Discounts and free offers will also be on these sites to act as incentives to take advantage of ClickAFlick. Eventually they would love to get advertising on the site for local businesses and clubs on campus or even RA events.
Currently there are 336 movies in the machine with one or two copies each.
There has been some controversy, however, when it comes to the price of the DVDs. Even Twitter’s @fduproblems tweeted about the expensive price. Unlike Redbox, a similar DVD kiosk system which sells its movies for $.99, ClickAFlick charges $1.99.
Yet Getts wanted to make it clear that the money generated from rental sales goes back to the university and directly to the Launch Pad account; it is not to make a profit. This is something created by students, for students. That’s why they were able to negotiate with the university over rent cost.
Initially they would have had to pay what any other business does in the Student Center. But because the money goes back to the university and to the students, rent comes to a mere $1 per year.
Although this isn’t something Getts or Fishman necessarily see expanding to other campuses unless it really took off, they are willing to go wherever it takes them.
Technology is ever-changing and in the future the demand for a DVD vending machine may be obsolete; it is all about what the market needs. In that case, they look forward to “wiping their hands clean and moving on to the next opportunity,” Getts said.
He continued, “We’ll ride it out as long as we can and as long as it’s popular. The possibilities are endless.”
To see sophomore Michelle Hickey’s graphic design logo and the latest movies in the ClickAFlick kiosk, visit the Twitter and Facebook accounts or log onto www.clickaflicknj.com.
LaunchPad meets Thursdays at 4:30 in the Wroxton Room.