Jorge Arthur had a taste of entrepreneurship before becoming a UC Davis student. In high school, he knew he wanted to try entrepreneurship. So he started a clothing brand. The experience opened new worlds to him, including connecting him to emerging leaders in the LA fashion world.
Moving from Los Angeles to Davis, Jorge didn’t expect to attract customers to his clothing brand because he was not yet known to the community. He decided he had to change his mindset to do business while living in Davis. Jorge dove into marketing courses, entrepreneurship books, and motivational content. He learned how to work with Facebook and Google ads. And he successfully built an e-commerce store for his clothing brand. This first successful store would be followed by others.
He was 18 years old, making money through his laptop. He fell in love with the freedom of this lifestyle. His eyes were wide open to the opportunities available to him at this age and he committed to making room for entrepreneurship in his new life as a college student.
Jorge says balancing entrepreneurship with school demands is a challenge. But the combination pushes him to work harder because he knows he doesn’t have much time to spare. The challenge is made manageable because of his passion for the work he’s doing. “It’s what brings me the most joy: making something of my own and having other people believing in it so much that they incorporate it into their life.”
Jorge sees entrepreneurship as his career path. He can’t see himself being happy working at a big corporation or doing work that isn’t him growing something he created. He wants to keep helping people through the things he makes.
The Venture: Mingo
The seeds of the venture Mingo were planted in the Student Startup Center’s course ENG 080: Launching a Business. It was there Jorge met Mingo teammate Yusuf Musluoglu (‘21, Electrical Engineering). They were both working on similar ideas, so they decided to join forces. Aliaksei Chumakou (‘19, Computer Science, Technology Management Minor), an experienced programmer, was building a related application. They became a team: committed to building something better together.
Mingo solves a problem that Jorge had in his own life. He had been introduced to a Facebook page where he found a low-cost ride home with another college student. The discovery of ridesharing excited Jorge, but the process of connecting through Facebook frustrated him. Jorge and the Mingo team decided they would be the ones to make a smoother, more effective process.
In ENG 080, Jorge learned about Lean Startup and other methods for developing businesses. Previously, he had thought entrepreneurship was a game of chance: some entrepreneurs were lucky and others were not. In ENG 080 he learned that there were steps that could be taken to increase the chances of success. He and his partners began to build a roadmap that allowed them to focus on what was important.
Applying to PLASMA
Together they applied for competitions and accelerators. The team applied to the Student Startup Center’s PLASMA accelerator after receiving encouragement from mentors. Jorge remembers being “so hyped” when they discovered they were selected.
Jorge’s favorite aspects of the PLASMA accelerator were the accountability it provided and the visiting mentors who shared their knowledge. In PLASMA, the team focused on progressing quickly with developing Mingo. Each week they identified goals, ensuring they knew what they would be working on each day so they could accomplish their goals for the next week. A lot of the mentors were business owners themselves. Jorge knew they had already gone through the experiences he was going through in developing his business, so he appreciated their advice.
COVID-19 and its resulting campus closures and social distancing hit Mingo hard. They’ve had to change their plans, but this doesn’t phase Jorge. “There’s never a perfect time to launch because things like this happen. Your plan is always going to get derailed, your plan is always going to get hit by a meteor so you’ve gotta just keep adapting,” he says. In this new COVID-world, Jorge views ridesharing as one of the safer transportation options. As the state opens up more, Team Mingo will begin marketing heavily to regain momentum.
Jorge Arthur ‘21
ENG 008, ENG 080, PLASMA alumnus