We’re celebrating Indiana University student innovators and entrepreneurs who are clients of the Shoebox, the university’s student-startup incubator. Located in the Shoemaker Innovation Center in Luddy Hall on the Bloomington campus, the Shoebox provides 24/7 office space to help student entrepreneurs build, launch and sustain their businesses.
Meet Ghost Life
Ashley J. Brooks is the founder of Ghost Life, and Paula Madetzke is the network specialist. Brooks is a third-year graduate student majoring in high-energy physics, while Madetzke is a first-year graduate student in intelligent systems engineering.
Ghost Life’s prospective clients are people who want to use their smartphones with enhanced privacy. A lack of privacy can make users vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation at the hands of those who collect and sell user data. The harm of exploitative data collection can range from manipulating online store prices based on previous shopping history to having the user’s location history being unknowingly shared with law enforcement without a warrant.
“Our product will be an application that includes basic and secure smartphone functionalities, and it is connected to a VPN to secure the user’s privacy and data,” Madetzke said. “This way, little if any user data is available to be collected by third parties.”
Ghost Life’s present and future
Brooks said she and Madetzke have learned about the business end of launching a startup by engaging with an Elevate Origins course for entrepreneurs in the ideation phase.
“We are very early on in our development,” Brooks said. “We have done a lot of research into the best ways to serve our clients’ privacy. We need to hone in on writing the app and conducting market research on the most important features to add.”
Praise for the Shoebox
“We benefit enormously from the Shoebox by having the connections and resources to identify and overcome the challenges of launching a startup,” Brooks said. “Neither Paula nor I come from a business background, and we were seeking guidance about how to begin. Through the Shoebox, we feel like we have a solid foundation of information to start a company.”
Student startups can apply for 24/7 access to the Shoebox’s office space, which is located in the Shoemaker Innovation Center, Luddy Hall 2150. The Shoebox also collaborates with the Hoosier Hatcher pre-incubator at the Kelley School of Business as well as Bloomington’s Dimension Mill startup accelerator. To apply for coworking space, write to email@example.com.