Make The Connection

Early Market Validation

June 1, 2020 – by Cole Hatcher

OWU student Jack Foley ’22 speaks at the 2018 opening of the Delaware Entrepreneurial Center at Ohio Wesleyan University. Foley hopes to launch a new business from campus in September. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

Ohio Wesleyan Student Readies New Business Launch with Help from Rev1 Ventures

Name: Jack Foley ’22
Hometown: North Potomac, Maryland
Majors: Business Administration (Management Concentration focus) and Communication (Strategic Corporate Communication focus)
OWU Connection Experience: Columbus-based Rev1 Ventures’ Customer Learning Lab

Foley completed Rev1 Ventures’ Customer Learning Lab (CLL) program this spring. CCL is “designed for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs to access advice, guidance, and tools to start validating product ideas with target customers and markets. This early market validation is a critical foundation for building a great company.”

Foley used the CCL experience to help develop his venture Fora Social, a social media app designed to help users share in the profits of selling their data. He is planning to launch the venture this fall. The business will be the second created and launched by the young entrepreneur. He previously operated ReYuze Cases, a company that created and sold cellphone cases made of recycled plastic.

Lessons Learned

“I learned that my new business is taking on a validated market due to the market research we conducted through CLL,” Foley said.

“Each individual had to create a quantitative or qualitative survey to send out to potential or current clients to test the validity of their business venture. I used my experience from my Communication classes taught by professors Kyle McDaniel, Ashley Kennard, and Phokeng Dailey to structure and run my mixed methods survey.

“What I found was that 70% of individuals ages 18-35 dislike when their data is collected and sold by social media companies. However, 54% of those individuals are fine with data selling, if they get paid for it.

“Getting paid for your data is a crucial part of Fora Social. The moment I noticed this, I thought, ‘Wow I learned about this in my comm classes! This is cognitive dissonance!’ ”

Gaining Valuable Experience

“Experiences like CLL allow entrepreneurs like myself to gain valuable experience and connections to grow themselves and, thus, their business. If a fellow peer of mine is reading this, the one thing I'd recommend is to not be afraid about ‘the possibility of failure.’

“As said by hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky: ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.’ That is why I love Ohio Wesleyan University. This university has skyrocketed my success and has connected me to crucial individuals who support me, because I'm an OWU student. This is what it means to be a Bishop.

“One day I, too, will be able to help an undergraduate student achieve greatness. I want to thank everyone who has helped me get this far. I will be launching Fora Social (https://forasocial.com) in September on Ohio Wesleyan's campus.”

My Plan After Graduation

“My plan after graduation is to continue running Fora Social with the mission to change the way our data is collected and sold forever and to give the power back into the user’s hands.”

At Ohio Wesleyan, Foley also is a Latham Entrepreneurial Scholar, an Economics Management Fellow (EMF), and a student board member for both the EMF program and the Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship.