Niesh fills a valuable niche
Niesh is a student-run Auckland business built upon one core foundation – to help students live an easier life. During the 2014 second semester exams at University of Auckland, Jae Yoo was forced into a decision. Exams were looming, he had less than $10 left in his bank account, and he had to choose between […]
Niesh is a student-run Auckland business built upon one core foundation – to help students live an easier life.
During the 2014 second semester exams at University of Auckland, Jae Yoo was forced into a decision. Exams were looming, he had less than $10 left in his bank account, and he had to choose between printing his past papers or feeding himself with a $5 kebab.
The problem? Jae’s friend, James, noted “The fundamental problem was that money was a barrier between students and their education. We wanted to change this, and where better to start than the core of our problems: printing. We wanted to make printing free, so that no student would ever have to be forced into the same decision that Jae had to make.”
And so began the story of Niesh.
Niesh is a student start-up business providing free printing services and local business discounts to fellow students across Auckland. The company was founded in 2015 by three University of Auckland students when Jae Yoo, 26, James Koo, 24, and John Lee, 24, realised through personal experience how hard it can be to budget while studying.
Niesh is built upon one core foundation – to help students live an easier life.
Jae and James figured out a way to provide students with free printing, saving them up to $50 each semester.
So how does it work? Each page printed at Niesh has a banner advertisement at the footer of the page. “This advertising funds the cost of printers, ink and paper and allows us to alleviate the financial pressures of printing costs. Essentially, we have local businesses sponsoring students printing. In just three weeks during our test period, we managed to help 750 Auckland students save over $1,100,” says Niesh co-founder Jae Yoo.
The initial idea behind Niesh was students helping students get the printing they need while still being able to afford lunch. There’ve been over 500,000 pages printed by Niesh so far, and counting.
“In the second semester, we grew to 2,000 users with a total volume of 110,000 pages. A year later, we are now sitting on 12,000 users with approximately 220,000 pages being printed each semester,” says Yoo.
The student lounge
After securing a $95,000 investment grant from Bill Smale in April 2016, the start-up has now expanded its services to include a student lounge where students can study, relax, and use the free printing services, and an app offering student discounts from local businesses.
The lounge is located right next to the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology and provides free printing, free Wi-Fi, free power plugs and a space to socialise.
James says the biggest challenge has always been finding a location to deliver the free printing service, so it was fantastic to receive a grant from Smale and to be able to open the Student Lounge and make the service come to life.
The Niesh app
In February 2017, Jae and James worked with their friends and business partners, Eddie Chae, 25, and Jin Lee, 26, to develop Niesh into an app providing discounts to students across a wide variety of local businesses. There are currently 90+ businesses partnered with the app offering discounts across food, drink, entertainment, technology, lifestyle and travel.
“We have partnered with many local businesses on the Niesh App. A prime example would be working with Burger King to deliver over $50,000 of food savings for students in the first week of lectures,” says Yoo.
Essentially, it’s a free app for students with access over 100 exclusive discounts in Auckland from 90+ businesses. Since the launch in February 2017, the Niesh app has accumulated over 9,000 downloads across both iOS and Android.
Expansion and future growth
Niesh is growing faster than ever and has expanded from a team of three students to over nine full-time and part-time staff.
Yoo, 26, said the next step for Niesh is national expansion so students at other major universities around New Zealand can enjoy the benefits of free printing and local business discounts.
Jae and James continue to inspire students to think big without limitations, and they have found themselves in some good company speaking at two marketing conferences alongside Google, DDB, and Lewis Road Creamery.
They have also given speeches to high school students on how to start a business, delivered the graduation speech to the most recent cohort of Aspire2 international graduates, and delivered the graduation speech at Hobsonville Intermediate. In 2018 the young professionals also expect to see a big rise in the Dare to Inspire initiatives.
Check out the Niesh website www.niesh.co.nz , and follow Niesh on Facebook or Instagram using the hash tag #savewithniesh to share the word.
Photo: Niesh co-founders Jae Yoo (left) and James Koo.