Matthew Kochman Fellow 2010
Living in: Brooklyn, NY — United States
Venture: M.E.S.S. Express
Making safe student transportation more convenient and accesible via a prepaid mobile payment platform
Operating in: North America
Impact Area: Public Health, Technology, Transportation, Web 2.0
"The tallest of the Unreasonable family."
Describe yourself briefly.
Matthew founded M.E.S.S. Express in 2008 as a junior at Cornell University after recognizing the lack of safe, convenient, and accessible transportation options for students in Ithaca. Over the past three years, Matthew has been on a passionate journey to make safe transportation ubiquitous on college campuses nationwide. Along the way he has served on the board of STOP-DWI in Tompkins County, attended the StartingBloc Institute for Social Innovation, and became an Unreasonable Institute Fellow. Matthew is a proud product of the Entrepreneurship@Cornell program and a huge advocate of student entrepreneurship in general. For fun, he plays lots of golf and goes to see live music (i.e. Phish and MGMT).
Describe your Unreasonable Venture in 100 words or less.
At M.E.S.S. Express (Moving Every Student Safely) we design and implement systems that make safe transportation accessible and convenient on college campuses. We are tackling the “psychology of choice” in particular. Our research shows that if a student has $5 in cash and the choice between pizza, beer, and a safe ride home, they almost never choose the safe ride home. This phenomenon is the key reason students choose to drive drunk or walk home alone at 3AM. Therefore, we’ve developed a low-cost, prepaid transportation service that offers students the luxury of a cashless system, while offering parents much desired peace-of-mind. Think college meal-plan, for safe transportation. We sell prepaid taxi accounts to parents, thus removing “transportation cost” for the student. The feedback from our pilot program was extremely encouraging, with one student calling the program “psychologically convenient.” This is exactly what we’re aiming to accomplish, making safe transportation the easiest possible choice.