Tech startup helps students find odd jobs

Heroic was put together by Carlson grads and advising faculty.

Justin Barrett, a University of Minnesota alumni, and Dan Linstroth are the developers of the new Heroic website marketed towards students. The service network site links people together to complete various jobs in the metro area.

Marisa Wojcik

Justin Barrett, a University of Minnesota alumni, and Dan Linstroth are the developers of the new Heroic website marketed towards students. The service network site links people together to complete various jobs in the metro area.

Jeff Hargarten

A new website is helping University of Minnesota students find menial jobs for quick money.

Helloheroic.com, launched last week, advertises jobs like raking leaves and making lunches. Most requests are for tedious tasks people are unwilling or too busy to do themselves âÄî anything from cleaning an apartment to transferring an entire CD library to iTunes.

The site markets itself as a tool for the UniversityâÄôs community, and has attracted thousands of visitors through social media advertising.

âÄúItâÄôs far exceeded our expectations and seems to be spreading quickly,âÄù said Dan Linstroth, the siteâÄôs co-creator.

Anyone can post jobs on the site, but people signing up usually have to refer three others before getting access, to cut back on spammers and ensure quality posts.

People typically respond immediately to posted ads with an average of five responses in just two hours, Linstroth said.

The users specify how much theyâÄôre willing to pay and when they need the job done, and the website processes payment when the work is complete. Payment can be processed either online or using Square âÄî a card reader that attaches to smart phones or tablet computers, and getting setup with a reader is free.

For people like Nicola Kapala, Heroic is a good way to âÄúfind odd jobs at [her] leisure.âÄù

Kapala recently graduated from the University with a communications degree and started working as a freelance wellness therapist, but likes using Heroic to get some extra cash.

âÄúWith the new economy being what it is I see more and more people getting creative in how they create income,âÄù she said.

Heroic has been in the works for about a year, but came together rapidly in the last six months, said Justin Barrett, a University alumnus who founded the site along with Linstroth.

The two were reconnecting at a coffee shop about a year ago when an idle conversation about their busy schedules and unfinished tasks led to the idea for the site.

âÄúWe wanted to come up with ways to connect people with big to-do lists and the people with the time and skills to do them,âÄù Linstroth said.

Barrett, who graduated from the UniversityâÄôs Carlson School of Management in 2006, came to his old instructors for advice on building a business.

âÄúI thought it was an intriguing idea,âÄù said Connie Rutledge, a strategic management and organization director at Carlson School.

Rutledge was searching online for a babysitter and found sites similar to Heroic in other cities, just before Barrett came to her with the concept.

âÄú[Linstroth and Barrett] have the passion to get it off the ground,âÄù she said.

She said it would be a long road to attract the large number of users necessary to sustain the website long term.

Right now, the site is not displaying ads. Linstroth said Heroic is in its early stage, but he hopes to turn in into the bigger project.

The Heroic team is currently implementing security measures to prevent spam and fraudulent posts. Keeping the quality of the posted ads is âÄúhuge,âÄù Linstroth said, and they would continue to improve upon it.

âÄúLots of people are excited to work with their neighbors and have some extra cash in their pocket,âÄù he said.