Sean Glass ’03 is hungry. In addition to being a Yale senior, he is already an entrepreneur and a businessman.
Glass has already started what most Yalies are still dreaming about: his own company. In addition, Glass helped to found the Yale Entrepreneurial Society in 1999.
Although the organization has helped shape his goals, Glass said that YES is principally a membership group.
“It gives students contacts and resources to research and find out about various business opportunities,” Glass said.
A year after co-founding the organization, Glass said, he decided to heed the club’s advice and start his own business. With fellow YES members Miles Lasater ’01 and Mark Volchek ’00, he founded the company Higher One in 2000.
Higher One works with universities and financial institutions to allow student IDs to function as debit cards, picture identification and student passes. The card eliminates piles of paperwork as well as saving both the student and the university money.
“Students have enough other things to worry about,” Glass said about his company’s mission.
Indeed Glass might have less things to worry about now that Higher One has two large clients utilizing the multi-purpose IDs. the University of Houston signed on in January of 2002, and the University of Wisconsin became a client earlier this month.
Following Higher One’s hiring of a marketing executive, Randy Harris, the University of Houston’s chief financial officer, helped secure the contract there.
“Higher One is very excited about the recent progress the company has made with new partnerships,” said Lasater, a partner in the company.
As for Yale adopting this new card, Glass said students might have to wait awhile.
“Yale is never the first to try anything new,” Glass said.
But Glass added that Richard Brodhead, the dean of Yale College; Bruce Alexander, Yale’s vice president for New Haven and state affairs; and others in the administration have been very supportive of YES.
During YES’ four years at Yale, the organization has initiated the Y50K competition, an annual contest that gives thousands of dollars worth of awards to winning innovative student companies. The competition offers two categories, for-profit and not-for-profit, and provides support services to aid all winners and runners-up in getting their businesses off the ground.
In April 2002, YES also hosted its first annual “Innovation Summit,” a two-day conference held at the Yale Law School that featured a wide range of speeches and panel discussions. Winners of the Y50K competition were announced there.