Last May, the Atlanta mayor’s office introduced the first inaugural Pace Social Entrepreneurship Challenge (PASEC), a competition in which the mayor asks Pace students, grades 9 through 12, to present a solution for Atlanta’s rush hour traffic problem.
Senior Matt Tanenblatt rose to the challenge with the help of Tanner Lewis and Larine Hamied, by introducing the application, “Scootle,” which provides traffic relief by offering deals and volunteer opportunities during rush hour to get drivers off of the road and into businesses located in the traffic-infused area.
Matt’s idea won the competition, and Scootle was granted $10,000 to aid in further development of the application.
Tommy Hattori, the social entrepreneurship advisor at Pace, had glowing reviews for the app and said he is excited for its future: “Scootle was a clear winner for us. It gives users a host of opportunities during peak traffic times, while creating a social atmosphere. We really felt that it was a perfect blend of an innovative app and a social movement.”
The Scootle app has not yet been released, but is still in the development phase. Matt and his team are busy building the backbone of the company.
They are hiring graphic designers, conducting research, and reaching out to the Pace community to form partnerships with Pace family businesses.
Matt says he hopes to expand throughout Atlanta by forging relationships with new restaurants, gyms and additional volunteer organizations.
The biggest obstacle Matt has faced is trying to develop Scootle while going to school.
“We didn’t foresee this problem last May, and figuring out the kinks has delayed the app’s release to the general public,” he said.
Matt hopes to bring on new “Scootle Ambassadors” from surrounding Atlanta schools in the near future, who will continue to form partnerships with local businesses in their school communities while he is in college next fall.
Matt’s previous internships at Clickspace and The Treehouse Advisory Group gave him the insight and experience to help launch his own start-up.
Matt explains that “Clickscape put me in the door to these opportunities and experiences, whereas Treehouse really taught me how to execute on a whole new level.” Matt shadowed Tree House CEO, Faraz Zubairi, and acquired skills that he said he used to propel the success of Scootle.
In addition to running his own start-up business, Matt is student body president and has been an active member of student council throughout high school. He is head of the spirit squad, a student ambassador, and a member of the varsity lacrosse team.
Matt will be attending Dartmouth this coming fall and plans on studying finance or economics.
This article was written and reported by Amanda Gibson, a student at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School.