Patryk Swietek was in a hurry to make plans for his time at Illinois. After spending two years at junior college, Swietek knew he only had two years remaining at Gies College of Business, so he was anxious to get going. His most significant plan, though, hatched earlier than he ever could have imagined.
“The iVenture Accelerator was on my scope of things to do before I even started here,” said Swietek, now a senior majoring in information systems. “I’ve known for a little while now that I want to pursue entrepreneurship, but I thought it would take a little while to start on a project worthy of iVenture.”
Gies Business – and its iVenture Accelerator – helped Swietek find his purpose and passion; it also helped him find his co-founder, Viktor Makarskyy.
Makarskyy is a senior majoring in engineering physics. He had already developed a lot of what became their first edition of an augmented reality app. This app led to a startup company called Menu3.
Menu3, which was formed last October, is a free app that allows customers to view a digital restaurant menu that features a 3D overlay of a dish right on their phone. The photo can be rotated with two fingers for a 360 degree view. This provides visual appeal and can help customers better understand portion sizes.
“It clicked to me immediately,” Swietek said. “I thought this was something we could sell.”
After further development, they did just that. Swietek’s first restaurant partner became Champaign’s Maize. They have since added Paris Super Crepes.
“Patryk and the Menu3 team exemplify iVenture’s distinctive, community-focused approach to entrepreneurship,” said iVenture director and co-founder Noah Isserman.
Swietek believes lessons learned through iVenture have prepared the group for what lies ahead. He says eventually they’re thinking of moving Menu3 to Chicago.
“My experience here pushes me; it pushes us in directions we couldn’t have imagined all that long ago.”