Engineering and entrepreneurship share more than just the same first letter. Both are characterized by value creation, problem-solving, and impact-driven results. Seth Mazza, a Barrett Honors student studying aerospace engineering, took this to heart during the spring semester of his sophomore year in FSE 301 – Entrepreneurship & Value Creation. Throughout the semester, from an unpolished idea to a well-researched vision, he developed a new venture: Pickups, an app that connects local performers, small venues/event holders, and their respective audiences, all on a single platform.

As an accomplished guitarist and small band member, Seth understood that finding performance opportunities was no easy task, especially while first starting out. His field research led him to Austin Harshman, a member of a local band by the name of Emby Alexander. Austin expressed, “It’s hard to convince a booking manager that your band is as good as another because they are not going to sit down and listen to your music.” He, like many local musicians, works another job to maintain a reliable source of income and meet his day-to-day expenses, which takes time away from his search for musical opportunities, including performances. This was the focus of Pickups, and the problem Seth intended to solve.

Further research showed that the problem was not as straightforward as it seemed initially. Several local bands expressed that it was a struggle for them to effectively establish and maintain a connection with their audience. Viewer involvement, which started as a mere addition to the app, became one of its biggest differentiating factors from similar apps. Seth determined that the best way to help local bands connect with their audience was to provide an easy way for audiences to find local bands when they are performing nearby. Consultations with Mike from 80/20 Records confirmed the importance of live performances. Mike simply stated, “Nothing replaces seeing an artist perform live.” This is also why record companies are granted special permissions through their own unique portal within the app, which could provide life-changing opportunities to any aspiring local musicians.

To Seth, this was more than just a class—this was an opportunity to take the engineering knowledge he had and apply it in a way that creates value and helps people achieve their dreams. “The exposure to the ins and outs of entrepreneurship is something I cherish,” he said. “I believe it will make me a well-rounded engineer and open the door to any entrepreneurial endeavors I wish to pursue, now and in the future.”

Want to watch the latest pitch for Pickups? Click here.

Want to connect with Seth? Click here.

Want to know what the app looks like? Check it out below:

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