Published: February 05, 2015

Seniors Matthew Colletti and Jasem Meqwar are about to launch a venture they both feel could change the trajectory of their future.

The two have created a social networking site, based on sharing talent and creativity, called TalentedHuman. They plan to launch in about four weeks.

“We want to change the face of social media,” said Colletti, of Tampa, who expects to have one million users minimum by January 2016. “Social media have lost the sense of human creativity. We want people to connect with this creativity, and take social media back to what it’s supposed to be. It’s about sharing with a purpose.”

The site is built upon attracting talented people, from singers and chefs to personal fitness enthusiasts. They are creating a space where talent isn’t a voice mixed in with selfies and prom photos and advertisements. It’s a place for self-promotion, honest feedback on budding ideas and critical assessment to refine an artist’s craft.

TalentedHuman combines the functionality of multiple current social media. It allows for messaging and text, photos, HD videos, blogging, uploading of documents, music files and the content can be filtered by the type of post and by who posted. The site also recognizes not just English characters, but Arabic.

“We wanted instant awareness in the Middle East, rather than it evolving from the U.S. first,” said Meqwar, a finance major from Kuwait.

The two met at UT and were familiar with each other’s “innate business acumen,” Colletti said, from the classes they shared in the Sykes College of Business. They knew they wanted to start a business together and in October started brainstorming.

“There are a lot of people who have a lot of great ideas and don’t act on them,” Meqwar said. “We decided to act.”

Their brainstorming quickly went well beyond their discussions with coffee after class. Their social site is copyrighted and registration is pending, and they launched an advertising campaign on social media in December and have professional software developers building the site. They have both invested their own money and have one outside investor, though they are looking for more.

“I knew the access to the UT network was a good thing, but watching the network help support Jasem and I in this particular endeavor has shed light on its value,” said Colletti, a finance major.

Meqwar transferred to UT on a friend’s recommendation, and TalentedHuman has been an unexpected surprise.

“Transferring to a different school is never easy, and I never would have thought about starting a business while in college,” said Meqwar, excited about the future career possibilities with TalentedHuman. “This business really makes my UT experience special.”

Colletti, who works fulltime as an investment advisor with Platinum Wealth Partners while attending UT fulltime, said the real world experience of creating and running a business has made what he is learning in the classroom far more applicable. From business law to accounting to ITM courses, the two are making the most of their degree before they even graduate.

“Sometimes you just have a feeling something will work out,” Colletti said.