2022 Michigan Business Challenge Spotlight – Clear Computing

Shannon Beeman
February 10, 2022

MBC Seigle Impact Track Spotlight

The Michigan Business Challenge (MBC) takes participants through the entire cycle of new venture creation from creating a strong pitch to conducting a marketing and financial assessment and writing a comprehensive business plan. University of Michigan student entrepreneurs are one step closer to over $100,000 in cash prizes. Meet these innovative Wolverines in our spotlight series.

Startup Description

University of Michigan Business Challenge Zell Lurie Institute 2022Clear Computing helps older adults learn how to use technology to better their quality of life and extend their independence. James Giordani (MSW ’22).

What was the origin of this venture? How was the problem or opportunity discovered?

While working at a local computer repair shop, I saw firsthand how challenging technology could be for many folks. Often, they felt shame or frustration for struggling with devices which were marketed as being “intuitive” or “easy to use.” When they sought help it was often met with a “Mom, just Google it” or a “it’s easy Dad, just figure it out yourself.” I often heard the words “I’m so stupid when it comes to technology.” In reality, they were bright people who just needed someone professional to answer their tech questions, or walk through their tech problems together.

What do you think will be the long-term impact of launching your venture?

It’s easy to see the pride and excitement in our clients when they learn to use an online health portal so they can message their doc, figure out Instacart so they can have their groceries delivered and avoid COVID-19 exposure, or master Zoom so they can have a robust interaction with their family. The benefits technology can have on a person’s quality of life and the independence are profound so we can’t wait to grow and touch the lives of a great number of older adults.

How did you form your team?

We are currently just a one-person-team featuring a guy doing something he loves. If you or someone you know might be interested in hopping on this little venture (which has quite a lot of room to grow) reach out to jgio@ umich.edu

How has participation in MBC helped move your venture forward?

Well, I’ve never been a planner but I’ve always had ideas. MBC has really helped me narrow down my focus to ensure Clear Computing will deliver the most impact to the most people.

What has been your biggest takeaway from the MBC experience (so far)?

That there’s a big community out there that’s eager to support you and your venture. Everyone has been so welcoming and happy to help.

What are your plans following MBC? How would prize money help your venture?

I’m excited to evolve Clear Computing from a fun side-gig to a full blown business. Prize money will be spent on recruiting employees, customer discovery, and (don’t tell the judges) a small amount will be dedicated to a backyard barbecue launch party.

What advice do you have for other student entrepreneurs?

  1. Just YOLO it
  2. 2. Ask for help before things get iffy
  3. 3. It’s OK to say I don’t know.

2022 Michigan Business Challenge Finals 

Learn more about these impact-driven University of Michigan student startups by following the 2022 Michigan Business Challenge Finals on February 11 on ZLI social media. Cheer for your favorite team during the MBC final presentations and applaud the winners!