All Aboard the M.E.S.S. Express!

February 19, 2010 – 5:22 pm | by Matt Ackerson


Note: I am writing this post in support of the MESS Express company and my friend Matt Kochman. My hope is that after reading the short article below you will join me in supporting his business and the company’s mission.

Matt’s goal is to raise $6,500 in order to attend a business incubator for social enterprise called the Unreasonable Institute. Any contribution amount would help to achieve this goal. Only the first 25 of the 33 finalists to raise the necessary funds will be selected to attend the incubator program for 10 weeks, where each entrepreneur will receive coaching and numerous networking opportunities to expand their start-up companies.

I’ve known Matt Kochman for over a year now. Him and I were classmates at Cornell when he started his uniquely branded student transportation business, M.E.S.S. Express LLC. “M.E.S.S.” stands for Moving Every Student Safely, but it’s also a joke, since college kids can be a “mess” after partying or staying out too late. MESS Express helps college students to avoid having to make what can be a fatal decision: to drive home while intoxicated.The company seeks to help the 2.6 million college students who make this poor decision every year by transporting them safely across campus via group busing and taxi services. From a high level point of view, it’s best described as a for-profit social advocacy group.

Last year the company grew quickly, and generated six figures in revenue providing busing services for students at 2 college campuses. The company is profitable and already preparing to expand to Syracuse later this year.

In addition, Matt has begun pushing forward on the taxi cab front, which he believes offers a more scalable expansion opportunity for growing the business and the brand. Students or their parents will be able to purchase pre-paid taxi cards which the student can use at their discretion throughout the semester to catch a ride back to their dorm or apartment. Payment will be simple: just swipe your card through a card reader located inside the taxi–tip is included.

Matt’s business model works and his push into implementing the pre-paid taxi cards shows a strong desire to scale the company into something much bigger. Some potential investors may criticize the business for having little that is proprietary. To the contrary, the partnership deals that MESS Express is cutting with local transportation companies, student organizations, and universities provides a significant barrier to any potential competitor looking to copy this model. In addition, the brand is unique, perfectly humorous and serious at the same time, as well as trademarked.

Matt and the MESS Express team are seeking your support in order to help them further their mission to provide safe and timely transportation for every college student across the country. Please consider investing in the company and the cause today.

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  1. 4 Responses to “All Aboard the M.E.S.S. Express!”

  2. By Ryan on Feb 19, 2010 | Reply

    Hi Matt, hope you’re doing well on blue sky – I’m not sure I understand this – he generated >$100k in revenue but needs to raise $6.5k?? Doesn’t seem to make sense to me?? Good business idea though!

  3. By Matt Ackerson on Feb 19, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Ryan, that’s my mistake. You see, Matt is unable to use any of his own funds, he has to raise it by convincing friends and family members. That’s one of the rules of the competition and rightfully so, since part of what makes an entrepreneur effective has to do with his or her ability to network and convince others to go his or her way.

  4. By David on Feb 26, 2010 | Reply

    Do most incubators cost money? The tech ones (Y Combinator, TechStars) are free.

  5. By Matt Ackerson on Feb 27, 2010 | Reply

    Hey David, most incubators are “free” but you have to give up equity. I am not sure about the U.R. that Matt is trying to get into but I doubt he will have to give up much equity (if any) since he is raising the funds from friends and family. The point of Matt raising this money is not so he can “pay” to get in, he will invest the money back into his business AND it’s an exercise in networking / pitching.

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