Deadlines can bring out the best in people. In Hannah Ung’s case, half an hour before she was due to present to a class at Northeastern, she decided on a name for her proposed startup: square.
A year later, Boxy is in business, allowing college students to rent private home storage space for their belongings, much like an Airbnb for their furniture, clothes and other personal effects.
Ung’s innovation has earned him a place in The 25 Under 25 by BostInno class of elite young founders, nonprofit leaders, start-up employees, and students. Joining her on the select list were five other Northeastern students or graduates: Rachel Domb, Naren Kolli, Samantha Johnson, Anya Losik and Alex Marley.
“BostInno is the flagship market in the 45 cities that make up America Inno, and it’s only in a couple of cities, like Boston, where we have so much under-25 talent,” he said. doug banks, executive editor of BostInno and the Boston Business Journal. “Northeastern and other world-class universities in and around Boston are a great contributor to that young talent.”
Ung understands how Northeastern entrepreneurs were able to dominate the list of innovators and leaders.
“I feel the support I receive from the entrepreneurial ecosystem at Northeastern,” says Ung, a transfer student graduating in 2023 with a degree in business administration with a concentration in brand management, as well as entrepreneurship and start-up management. “One of the reasons I wanted to transfer to Northeastern was for experiential learning; I wasn’t really looking into entrepreneurship, but coming here and seeing all the resources they have for entrepreneurship in general has been amazing.”
Ung, who keeps an innovation notebook to jot down ideas during his solo travels, developed Boxy’s premise as part of “Marketing Strategies for Startups,” a class taught by Prof. Cheryl Mitteness. Ung realized the need for his service as early as 2018 while preparing for a trip to Japan. Where was he going to keep his things?
“It definitely has something to do with my upbringing, growing up in a low-income household where we always have to share space in the house,” says Ung, who grew up in Rhode Island. “So I appreciate sharing in general, and that includes space, and that’s a mantra for how I live life: sharing it with the people around me and also making the most of all the resources that are available to me. ”
Boxy can be just as useful for people renting space, she says.
“Especially people in the low-income community or anyone interested in making the most of what they have,” Ung says. “I find it very inspiring to see Uber drivers or Airbnb hosts monetize something they already have.”
Ung says Boxy’s pilot launch in August was a success. He now seeks to connect with students from the Northeast who are preparing to temporarily leave the Boston campus to participate in co-ops or semesters abroad.
“You can go to square website,” says Ung, who will handle each order personally. “Once they’re registered, I can order them all for your storage needs.”
Ung plans to turn his management of Boxy into a full-time career after graduation.
“I’m happy to know what I want to do after college and that this is the only goal I’m going to focus on,” she says.
The other Northeast laureates were honored for their promising achievements in a variety of fields:
- Rachel Domb, fourth year student of sustainability economics. Via rooted lifethe sustainable food brand he founded in his first year, Domb has created a line of eco-friendly, plant-based snacks that use compostable packaging.
- Naren Kolli, a senior in electrical engineering and computer science. Kolli, former director of Northeast Entrepreneurs Clubrecently launched the Boston Innovation Hub, a network linking more than 300 students from Northeastern and half a dozen other leading Boston-area universities.
- samantha johnson, a double Husky in bioengineering. Johnson is founder of Tatum Roboticsa startup that is developing an innovative communication tool to provide global support to deafblind people (who are deaf and blind at the same time).
- Anya Losik, Bachelor of Political Science and Environmental Studies. As the new chief of staff of ForgeA nonprofit organization that has helped more than 500 startups turn their prototypes into impactful businesses, Losik’s leadership is crucial to strategic planning, process improvement, and other areas.
- Alex Marley, graduated in electrical engineering and economics. Marley, an entrepreneur who dedicated himself to learning about entrepreneurship at Northeastern, manages the Boston office of bedroom background—the original student venture fund—while working full-time as an engineer at kitera startup focused on precision coffee brewing and freezing.