Kami and Sam, friends since freshman year, both struggled with the lack of communication among students within UC Davis’s large student body. They missed aspects of their high school classrooms: easily asking questions in class and befriending classmates. It was hard for them to connect with others who shared their interests. “It’s hard in between classes when you only have 10 minutes and you’re running around and you want to meet the people in your class,” Sam says.
After years of frustration with this lack of communication, Kami began to ask himself what he could do to change the situation. CliQ was born. Sam joined the team and the two identified and hired freelance developers to build the platform. Sam describes CliQ as a tool for finding the right network of people -- those with shared interests, ambitions, and work ethic -- to help students “get to where they want to go”. Specifically, CliQ facilitates group study and communication with professors and classmates.
Participating in the Student Startup Center’s PLASMA accelerator program gave Kami and Sam a community of experts and fellow student entrepreneurs to work with. Kami enjoyed being connected to people he could relate to. He and Sam looked forward to PLASMA meetings; they were excited to share ideas, report progress, and meet with the other teams. Connecting with experts helped them see CliQ from different perspectives and made Sam feel that much more passionate about the work she was doing.
COVID-19 hit during the middle of Team CliQ’s PLASMA experience. The resulting switch to remote learning made CliQ that much more necessary to users. Without face-to-face meetings in class and during office hours, students and professors were seeking easy ways to communicate with each other.
Kami and Sam saw that the new remote learning environments would benefit from a feature they had planned to add to CliQ months down the road: a classroom forum for students. The forum creates a community for each class and allows students to post questions and content they are struggling with so other students and their professors can offer guidance.
Kami has a message for students who are passionate about a problem that they want to solve: “If you don’t take action, you’re always going to regret it. Don’t think of yourself today; think of yourself 10 years from now. You’re always going to regret what you didn’t do. If you don’t do it, you’ll always wonder ‘What if?’ If you do it and it doesn’t work out, at least you will know that you went all in.”
Sam says entrepreneurship can feel intimidating. “You don’t know where to start. I was Animal Science. I didn’t know anything about business, anything about those models. But there are also so many resources available, especially if you’re a UC Davis student. So if you want to take action, it’s 100% doable and it’s not hard.”
A note to potential mentors from CliQ’s Kamiab Ayani and Samantha Wong: “You never know what kind of things you say that can change a person’s life,” Sam says. Kami says it’s especially great to hear from alumni. “It’s so much easier to put yourself in their shoes because they were in your shoes before. We can empathize with them and hopefully push forward that little bit extra that you need to get it done.”
Samantha Wong ‘19
Animal Science, currently applying to Vet School
Kamiab Ayani ‘19
Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior & Computer Science