Startup Spotlight: Bistara

January 24, 2016

This week’s spotlight is bistara, a freelance marketplace by students for students worldwide! Check out our interview with co-founders Zac DelVecchio & Maya Rafie. They remind us that students (and the rest of us!) need to realize their self-worth and not be afraid to take their lives into their own hands! 


GH: What is Bistara?
Maya & Zac: bistara is the world’s first college freelance marketplace that connects student freelancers to communities nationwide.

GH: How did bistara get started?
M&Z: We are both college students and freelancers. Zac attends Berklee College of Music and I go to Emerson College. Both catering the needs of musicians, we figured out that most creative students needed to develop a portfolio or media kit but didn’t know who to reach out to. So for the first year, bistara connected college filmmakers at Emerson with musicians at Berklee to create music videos. Seeing how successful that model was, we understood the need for college freelancers went beyond music and filmmaking and expanded to all categories where students provide their own services and can be their own boss.

GH: What was an obstacle you had to overcome?
M&Z: Understanding and learning to overcome the issue of self-value and belief in our generation’s careers.  Because student debt is at an all-time high and the job market is so oversaturated, many students choose to play it safe when it comes to career moves.  Many think that they need to join a company when they graduate instead of creating their own jobs. Students also have a hard time valuing their own work and talents and do not realize they can monetize their passions. The hardest challenge we have had to overcome and still often encounter is to show students that they are more talented and entrepreneurial than they realize.

GH: What did you learn from your first customers?
M&Z: We have learned that each situation brings new challenges to the table.  Since each customer and freelancer has their own individual needs, we have to constantly listen and understand our market to adjust the platform to best reflect both general and personal needs.

GH: What has the Boston ecosystem provided you?
M&Z: We had the great opportunity to be selected for the Emerson Launch program which provided us with money, mentors and co-working space. Zac goes to Berklee so we have been very lucky to be part of the ICE  (Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship)program which has given us amazing opportunities to network in the most creative and energetic environments. Having the support of our schools has been awesome!

GH: What’s the best/worst piece of advice you were given along the way?
M&Z: The best piece of advice we received was a reminder of the difficulty of going down the road of an entrepreneur.  Every day is different and offers new challenges. The trick to success is to never stop learning,  listening and watching. A partnership is like a relationship and needs to be transparent and be based on strong communication.  Be fast and flexible to the changes that happen and never be complacent.

GH: What does the future hold for bistara?
M&Z: bistara will continue to grow and eventually become the largest freelance site and hub dedicated to college freelancers. As the platform grows, we will be able to implement new features to aid our community even more.





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