Jason Oteng-Nyame grew up in Ghana and came to the United States to get his economics degree from Davidson College in North Carolina.
But when he decided to launch his career, he came to Chattanooga and joined with two friends from Kenya who had just graduated from Vanderbilt. The trio of African-born entrepreneurs moved in together in an apartment in the Fleetwood Building on East 11th Street to be near the Company Lab, which helped them in the fall Accelerator program to develop their online business plan.
Known as Tryall, the service will allow small businesses and individuals to test out subscription-based products and services at no initial cost to help guide consumers into making the best choice for their own needs before making a costly purchase or long-term commitment. The Tryall business idea is being tried out first in Chattanooga, where those who have signed up with the startup business began testing the new service in December under a free trial program.
"We are still trying to perfect our platform and we're eager to do this beta test in Chattanooga to help us make sure we are truly providing the right value before we start charging anyone," Oteng-Nyame says.
By using Tryall, users can test out product "without the typical stresses of free trials," Oteng-Nyame says. "The platform helps users find and easily manage free trial subscriptions, receive personalized recommendations for other free trials, and track expiration dates to avoid incurring charges for products and services the user does not want to purchase."
Oteng-Nyame said his own early experience in starting a business and looking for an online bookkeeping company for help led him to pick the wrong vendor and sign up for a subscription "that was not what we needed or used and certainly not what we budgeted for."
He is far from alone. Surveys have found that more than 52 percent of buyers feel like it takes too much time and effort to select the products and services they purchase and 40 percent say they regret their purchases.
The new business venture, developed by Asili Labs, will address such concerns by offering a platform to help users find and easily manage free trial subscriptions and receive personalized recommendations about the best product or service for the end user based upon new rating and assessment software for each person. The entrepreneurs are developing software to help target recommendations based upon individual needs and preferences and overall ratings of what is being offered.
Oteng-Nyame is working with Kenya natives Anthony Wamunyu Maina and Gabriel Wamunyu in the new business, which they refined earlier this year while working on "Will This Float?" The idea of Tryall won both the People's Choice balloting and the judges' pick for a $1,000 prize at the Will This Float? presentation in October.
"Co.Lab has been a tremendous help to get us going," he says.