The average online class may teach you how to code a basic program or design a simple website. But how many actually teach you how to build an entire iPhone game and bring it to market? That’s the idea behind MakeGamesWithUs, a two-year-old startup that teaches students of all ages not only how to make the next Flappy Bird, but also how to sell it on the Apple Store. MGWU’s curriculums are geared toward teenagers, but they’re so robust, they’ve even been used by MIT, Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon.
To make sure brainy students from all backgrounds had access to their in-person Summer Academy this year, MGWU founders Ashu Desai and Jeremy Rossmann set up a scholarship program for select students earlier this year. As part of the scholarship, recipients were encouraged to create Crowdtilt campaigns to help crowdfund tuition for the Academy. 25% of the class ended up successfully “tilting” their campaigns, raising anywhere from $100 to $5,200 each.
Setting up Crowdtilt campaigns served two main purposes, according to Desai. First, the campaigns helped pave the way for economically-disadvantaged kids to participate in the program. But even more importantly, Desai says, the campaigns helped prove participants’ mettle. For any student who’s interested in building a product, crowdfunding through Crowdilt is a great way to show hustle,” says Desai. “It’s the same kind of hustle that you’ll need to show investors, and to prove to them that you can sell yourself and your product.”
Desai would know. The 21-year-old entrepreneur started making iPhone games in high school and his game Helicopter made roughly $35,000 from the Apple store. After dropping out of college, he synced with his long time friend Rossmann to successfully pitch the initial idea for their company to incubator Y Combinator. The duo were accepted and launched their company in 2012.
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