The Walamu StorySaturday, March 3, 2007
Rohail Rizvi introduced me to a website he has been working on while in college: Walamu. Walamu is posed to become a successful college marketplace with classifieds and textbook sales (local to universities). Rohail is a student at Rutgers and a member of a very neat young entrepreneur group called Mind Petals. I liked his story enough to look into Walamu a bit more…
First off, Walamu does not come across as YACTS (Yet Another Cheap Textbook Site). Walamu is structured more like a Craigslist for colleges. Although Rutgers is the only college on the site right now it seems to have become popular with the students. Oh, and go take a look at the site’s blog. As of this writing, they’re offering a free night with a stripper to a lucky classifieds poster. Who else does that? Who else has done that? Wow.
Additionally, you look at the site and it looks professional, it looks clean, it seems functional. Most textbook and classified sites I’ve seen (including Craigslist) are too simple and too empty. Sure, you need a community and you need an easy-enough site to get to the point: exchanging of goods and services.
But, you look at this site and it looks great, it looks like a lot of time and resources have been put into it. Well, yes. But would you believe that one guy (named Rohail) is behind it all? The same Rohail who is still going through college, eating Ramen, and having a hard time finding money to purchase textbooks.
I like what Rohail has done with Walamu; it’s the perfect entrepreneur story. He’s found a problem that he deeply understands and he has created a solution. I think a lot of people, including students, can look at this story and realize that, yes, I can create something. I can go out and do things no matter the limitations.
Personally, I wouldn’t create a YACTS-competitor though. ;)