Written by Shoemaker Scholar Brady Anderson
Eli Serrano is a freshmen majoring in Entrepreneurship at Indiana University. His business is called Aura an innovative take on social media which uses augmented reality (AR) to encourage people to explore. He has a long history of entrepreneurship and is very excited about how AR could change social media.
What is your story?
I am a young Puerto Rican entrepreneur and I have lived all around the United states. From a very young age I have been tech inclined. I started messing around with websites changing text using the inspect tool. I learned more about websites at my library which snowballed into coding. I have competed in hackathons and created applications for friends and clients.
My moment was when Pokémon Go launched in 2016. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen. Everyone was outside being social and I thought that was really nice. Instagram and snapchat were very big, but didn’t really make people social. Since then I’ve been working on a social media app that encourages people to be more social.
What is your biggest personal goal?
I really want to be philanthropic. If my business is successful I would love to create my own research community center for students to be successful in computer science and entrepreneurship. Bill Gates is my favorite entrepreneur and I would like to follow in his footsteps.
What has been the most useful entrepreneurial resource or experience at the university?
It has been the shoebox. Other resources can’t compare. The shoebox is overwhelming with the amount of resources they provide to entrepreneurs. It shocks me that Kelly doesn’t do the same. I am not really trying to pitch the center, but the client managers do a great job.
What has been the most useful entrepreneurial resource or experience outside the University?
Broadly speaking small online communities of fellow entrepreneurs focused on tech have been really nice. I am able to connect with other similar minded people. There are some shortcomings, but they are nice to have.
What was your favorite failure or learning experience?
There was a hackathon I went to in Chicago and spent about 40 hours developing it. Upon presenting it no one really understood the game. I built out of pure interest and didn’t really understand what other people may want. I didn’t listen to the end user.
What entrepreneurial or innovative business or project are you currently working on?
I am currently working on Aura. Aura is a next generation social media and advertising platform. We encourage users to go outside to engage in real social experiences with augmented reality technology.
What would you say the mission of Aura is?
In 2016 I realized how not social social media is. My goal is to make a platform that is more social where creators and businesses can come together to engage people. Current social media ruins peoples’ mental health.
Could you elaborate on the work you have done for Aura?
I have coded a frontend and backend for the Aura app. Additionally I have completed some market research and competitive analysis. I am currently seeking capital to expand my team since I am at a stage where I need more talent.
What are some of your biggest pain points for your venture?
The biggest challenge is making a nice user experience. This is the hardest thing because people are picky and if a person doesn’t like something immediately they won’t want to use it again. Secondly, I need more resources, specifically people.
I really need iOS developers, UI/UX designers, and a backend developer to work on database management and finally a marketing team member.
Where can people contact you?