Dashplain Update 2023
Awardee year: 2021-2022
Business Name: DashPlain LLC
DashPlain is a simplified web and mobile-based project management application that is designed for students. Its mission is to empower all students to quickly lead effective teams. This is accomplished by providing them with simple yet effective tools that allow them to collaborate and deliver with focus.
Team Leader Name: Robert Gianniny
School: West Virginia University
Major: Industrial Engineering
Hometown: Harpers Ferry, WV
Since participating in the 2021-2022 West Virginia Business Plan Competition what are the greatest impacts you and your business have experienced thus far?
Has your team grown or changed?
While I have remained the sole owner/operator, I have connected with several students who have shown an interest in bringing their unique skills to help build the product, ranging from UX to marketing. A common thread I have found is that there is an abundance of extremely talent students in the state who are interested in building something new but have concerns towards taking the leap themselves into the world of entrepreneurship. So, in addition to talking about DashPlain, I enjoy plugging the great resources like the WV Collegiate Business Plan Competition that are available to students to help them get started.
Any new updates to the original products, services or components of your original business idea since starting the competition?
The latest wave of AI hype has forced me to rethink how to deliver the most value to students and educators alike. While the initial product I had consolidated many digital tools that students will continue to use (file storage, team scheduler, etc.), I expect that students will come to demand exciting new AI-driven features, and competitors will soon be able to deliver them. In response, I want to first evaluate the value propositions of these AI tools and understand how they fit into the broader educational landscape (specifically focusing on heightening the learning experience rather than replacing it with AI tools). Once I define the new value that DashPlain can provide, I want to take advantage of the ever-increasing range of accessible AI tools. While this will increase the product’s time to market, I have found that my passion lies with building a resource that can truly make a difference for students regardless of the time it takes.
Have you connected with any coaches or mentors?
Yes, the WVU Launch Lab has connected me with several excellent resources (including the folks with SaaS Maker), and the coaches at WVU continue to offer tremendous support themselves.
How much did you receive from BPC and/or from outside investors?
What hopes/plans do you have for the future growth of your business? Are there areas you still need help with?
While I understand there is a long road ahead, I find great joy in learning more about how to build my dream product for students. As mentioned previously, I am excited to see how this new excitement in AI can shape education, and my immediate plans for my business are to review research on how AI tools can enhance student learning. Simultaneously, I want to keep an open mind to new development tools that can help power this innovation. At the moment, I feel like I am swimming in an ocean of information and questions, but I know I have a great support network in my corner for when I reach new roadblocks.