Spotlight@Shea: Jack Russell on Life as a Co-Founder of MCEE
Hi everyone, my name is Jack Russell and I am a senior at Boston College studying Finance and Information Systems. I am currently on the executive board for the Start@Shea team of the Shea Center for Entrepreneurship. I only recently began getting involved with Shea during my Junior year when my company called MCEE (we will talk about that later), got accepted into the Start@Shea Accelerator Program at the beginning of the spring semester. My team then went on the pitch at Demo Day in April and then won fan-favorite at the Strakosch event shortly after. But, between all of that, I started making some close relationships right in room 202, 245 Beacon Street. I found myself going into the new space provided for me through the accelerator way more than I thought I would because I was constantly stimulated and surrounded by people who were passionate about entrepreneurship. The Shea team was always willing to give help any chance they could, and I quickly fell in love with the people and culture at the Shea Center. In the Shea Center, I am currently on the Ambassadors team working with our freshman mentees. I also am the head of our newest program, The Lab: Open Incubator, which is a space for bridging the gap between ideation and execution. It consists of workshops, business model development sessions, and exclusive resources to get your idea ready to begin execution. I am plugging The Lab because registration opens this month, and I am excited to hear about and help the newest startups coming to Boston College!
My entrepreneurial journey began last year when I was faced with the same problem every weekend: my friends asking me to control the music at our social events yet being constantly berated with song requests. It was truly a stressful experience. I felt like there had to be a way, so I founded MCEE with my friend Rhett. To keep it brief, MCEE is a collaborative music platform designed to crowdsource songs on a common queue, subjecting them to a voting process so that the most liked songs are played first. We tried to take a system that was a “dictatorship” and democratized it. The platform also features a leaderboard, which displays what person got the most votes for their songs that night, and what song was most voted on. The app is trying to “gamify” the group listening experience to make it a social one.
I never really thought that the idea could become anything until we got that acceptance email into the Start@Shea accelerator. I laugh because I look back and think about how I had no idea what I was doing then, and I still don’t know what I’m doing nine months later. One of the first things that defined my struggles as a first-time founder was trying to find a technical co-founder. It took me months to find a technical person, but we were lucky enough to have my friend Gianna join our team as a co-founder. Once I had found that technical help, I started realizing my dream could become a reality. It was then time for me to learn how to be a great CEO and lead a team with no entrepreneurial experience into the hottest platform on college campuses. MCEE was lucky enough to have applied and been accepted into SSC Summer Accelerator Program, a highly competitive accelerator program for BC-founded companies. It was a rigorous summer for me, with anywhere from five to ten meetings a week on top of a full internship in investment banking. But I believed in my company so much that I was determined to make every meeting, regardless of how it interfered with my other internship, to see the idea through. I mention this because I want to highlight to all students that it requires your full commitment if you ever want to pursue your idea. It might be cliché to say, but I wake up every day and I think about MCEE. I truly eat, sleep, and breathe the company, and while it has been a crazy journey –with many struggles that I just didn’t see the company lasting through– I am excited to announce that MCEE has recently completed the development of the app and will be launching very soon on Boston College campus. If you are interested in learning more, please follow our Instagram @mceeapp and join the waitlist on our website, mcee.app. I never truly thought I would be where I am right now with this company and my position at Shea, but I can truly say that the support I got at the Shea Center has changed my life, and I will eternally be grateful for being granted this opportunity to work with such an amazing club.