With the start of the new school year comes a new opportunity for students to earn a little money, fundraise for student groups and non-profits, and even impact what happens in the local Rochester area.

Meet Max Sims, a 25-year old recent UR graduate. He’s the chief executive officer of Pollinate, a new start-up market research company launching this Fall semester. Contrary to his official title, he has a laid-back attitude with the vibes of a relatable young adult still figuring it all out. But he’s gotten that title by being one of the original co-founders of Pollinate, and together with his team, they have set ambitious goals for both the start-up and their impact on the Rochester community.

So what exactly does Pollinate do? The market research start-up specializes in obtaining data from college students through interviews. What’s more, it plans to be based at UR, with much of Pollinate’s work conducted by UR students for UR students.

As for the students themselves, Max explains, “They can join a panel of their UR peers. Once they have been onboarded in a 10-15 minute interview, they can participate in bi-weekly interviews as part of the Pollinate Panel. As a reward for being a panelist, they earn $4-8 every time they do an interview. They can either keep the money for themselves, donate it to a student group of their choice, or donate it to one of our four non-profit partners: KIVA, the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, the Verona Street Animal Society, and the Crisis Nursery.”

Afterward, interview results are delivered to client sponsoring the research study. Max also adds that this could be a great opportunity for student organization leaders to fundraise for their group by encouraging their members to join the panel.

Pollinate has already received serious backing from entrepreneurial organizations on campus like the iZone and the AIN Center for Entrepreneurship.

“Pollinate is proof that students have the capacity to bring an exciting idea to life, [it]shows us that anyone can use entrepreneurship to solve exciting problems, whether or not it’s a new business,” said Julia Maddox, Director of the iZone.

Mathew Spielmann, program manager at the AIN Center, also notes that they had been working to support Pollinate for several years now.

“College is a great time to launch a startup,” he says, “while it takes hard work and dedication, Pollinate is a shining example of success.”

On September 8, the start-up officially launched at the MelioraLaunchPad Startup Spotlight event, with the attendance of various administrators, Rochester community members, and over 200 students. After a successful launch, it seems Pollinate is already generating buzz and creating its own niche within the UR campus. Whether students choose to join the Pollinate Panel to earn a little cash, or support their student organization or a local non-profit, the Rochester community is sure to get a little more connected



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