Waterville – Central Maine Growth Council and KVConnect are proud to present its annual 2020 Emerging Leader of the Year to Josh Kim, Founder and CEO of The Cubby (Sklaza LLC). The award was presented at Central Maine Growth Council’s Annual Meeting celebration, sponsored by Central Maine Motors, Kennebec Savings Bank, MaineGeneral Health, and New Dimensions Federal Credit Union. As an acknowledgement of his tenacity as an entrepreneur and innovator, Josh is the first college student to receive the Emerging Leader Award.
Created to give college students the ability to buy and sell items to and from one another, Josh launched The Cubby at Colby College in February of 2020 while he was a sophomore in school. In four short months, The Cubby logged over $10,000 in transactions and registered over 800 student users. The “marketplace for college students” launched again this past September and is now live at multiple institutions including the University of Maine, Boston College, Northeastern University, and has plans to expand into Thomas College, Bates College and Bowdoin College, respectively.
The Cubby, formerly known as Sklaza, is an online marketplace devoted exclusively to college students and the inexpensive sale of IONS: Items Only Needed by Students. Founded by Josh Kim, the marketplace tackles overconsumption, encourages recycling and environmental sustainability, and avoids the pitfalls of public marketplaces that, while marketed to college students, allow non-student sellers to post items unrelated to student needs. Items that have been advertised and sold include textbooks, furniture, clothing, and electronics.
The structure of The Cubby is similar to platforms such as Ebay and Etsy, though its target audience is college communities. Located in Bricks Coworking and Innovation Space in downtown Waterville, The Cubby represents an expanding community of tech talent and will encourage growth in local ecommerce.
As one of two selected Waterville-based startups to receive a software development grant from the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) in June of 2020, the funding from the MTI grant will be used to support expansion across college campuses. In addition to funding from the MTI, Josh presented on Greenlight Maine’s collegiate entrepreneurship challenge. The competition, which offers a $25,000 prize, is a sub-competition of Greenlight Maine, a statewide pitch TV show designed with the purpose of encouraging business and development in the state.
With the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic halting normal business practices, The Cubby has concentrated on scaling its reach to students in an effective manner.
“From a dorm room idea to a startup project, and from a startup project to an innovative small business, Josh is an example of the region’s brilliant young talent, local ingenuity, and an emerging cluster of software development tech startups and innovators in downtown Waterville. At an exciting inflection growth point, Josh and The Cubby team look to deliver their services well beyond our region and the state’s borders,” says Garvan Donegan, director of planning, innovation, and economic development. “We are so proud to say that this innovative tech startup was born in Waterville and continues to thrive here. Cubby’s recent expansion initiatives demonstrate Josh’s forward thinking approach, ability to pivot and identify revenue opportunities, and drive impact in our growing startup and entrepreneurship community”.
Josh and The Cubby plan to continue pushing forward these coming months as they reach more college campuses in New England, and implement more technical developments to the platform—including a mobile application by the end of 2021. They also have plans to focus their energy on growing the “Student Made” feature, a successful element of the product that empowers college students to sell their own creative work.
“I couldn’t be more excited to receive this milestone award from Central Maine Growth Council and KVConnect,” says Josh. “I couldn’t have gotten here without the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Maine, and I’m incredibly honored and humbled to be able to call Maine the home of The Cubby. Here’s to growing Maine, one startup at a time.”
Central Maine Growth Council thanks Josh for his valuable contributions to the community and region and looks forward to future initiatives from 2020’s emerging leader.
Last modified: December 15, 2020