• Lillie Burke

Student entrepreneurs run successful online startup What’s Hubbin’

Belmont students Channing Moreland, Makenzie Stokel and Seth Clarke have undertaken the task of starting up the company What’s Hubbin’ that compiles all of the musical events happening in the Nashville, Tenn. area in a one-stop calendar for consumers.

The three students released their first site a year ago, and this week the team plans on releasing an updated site with a new design and more mobile-friendly features.

The idea first came to the group after it first arrived in Nashville.

“We were super excited to get involved with the music scene, and we were disappointed to realize that there wasn’t one platform that had everything we needed to know about events and artists,”  Stokel said.

Because of that, What’s Hubbin’ was born.

After receiving the Outstanding Student Entrepreneur of the Year and a $5,000 award at the 2014 Belmont University Student Business Plan Competition, the team has participated in five other business-pitching competitions and has reached out to the Nashville Chamber of Commerce as well as the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

“It definitely helped boost our confidence in what we were doing. We were doing this not knowing how we compared to other companies. It really helped us realize that we should be serious about this because other people are serious about us,” Stokel said.

The next goal of What’s Hubbin’ is to form business plans and marketing that encourage the company to expand beyond the “Belmont bubble” and reach out to all music-lovers in the Nashville area, Clarke said.

Currently, What’s Hubbin’ caters to around 3,000 users.

“I think a lot of people dream of success but don’t actually envision it happening. Now that it has actually happened, nothing is never good enough. So, we got 3,000, big whoop,” Clarke said.  “Our team would like it to compound and grow exponentially to start to have an impact on the general music industry.”

In the distant future, What’s Hubbin’ hopes to take its model and apply it to other large cities, Stokel said.

In order for What’s Hubbin’ to multiply its users from its startup stage, the team “wears different types of hats,” Moreland said. Moreland and Stokel put in anywhere from 10 to 15 hours each week. Moreland fulfills the role of spokeswoman and contacts financial investors and web developers. Meanwhile, Stokel connects with local artists and updates the calendar on the website. Clarke focuses on the branding and design. However, everyone in the group networks, inputs data and helps set up shows, seeing the process as a collective effort.

After going through the startup process, the three Belmont juniors have learned lessons from first-hand experience.

“Besides passion driving your success, networking is definitely one of the most important things,” Clarke said. “If you have a great product but don’t know anyone, you’re not going to get off the ground. But if you have an OK product, and you know a lot of people, that product can be made better and then be reached out to a lot more people.”

Although Moreland reported an overwhelmingly willingness to support the startup from both Belmont and the Nashville community, she emphasized the importance in believing in a plan.

“Once you start getting that idea out there to other entrepreneurs, people are always going to try and find the thing that might not work, but motivate yourself and hone in on that, stay true to your mission and follow through,” Moreland said. “Don’t let other people cloud your image.”

On Nov. 15 What’s Hubbin’ will host Fall Fest at Centennial Park partnering with Musicians Corner and will give away five hours of free studio time at Jack Clement’s studio. Bands including Machines Are People Too, Modoc, Pressure Kids, the Gills, Ariel Hill and Samm and the Get Down will play from 12 p.m.  to 6 p.m.

This article was written by Brooklyn Penn.

Photo courtesy of Belmont University News and Media.

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