Saim Mohammed thought of the idea one day in class.
“We were discussing the gift giving process,” Mohammed remembered.
At the time, he was a freshman studying economics with an emphasis in sustainability.
“I thought of an interesting and new gift—a card, but not a normal card: A 3D pop-up photo card,” he said.
From that moment of inspiration came PopMemories, a business developed with the help of the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE), among many other resources.
The concept earned Mohammed many accolades and opportunities. He was a finalist in the 2020 Provost’s Innovation Challenge and a Spark Grant recipient. He also represented the University of Oregon in the 2020 Invent Oregon statewide university business competition.
Recently launched, consumers upload background and foreground images of a subject to the PopMemories website and, using photo-editing software, the subject is made to appear as if it’s three-dimensional, producing an image on a greeting card reminiscent of the actual memory.
“Our slogan is ‘bringing your memories to life,’” Mohammed said.
Appreciative of all the resources available to him at the University of Oregon, Mohammed points to Invent Oregon as particularly helpful.
“The biggest thing Invent Oregon provided was confidence,” Mohammed said.
Invent Oregon helped him find the resources he needed to develop his product and launch his business. He met weekly with mentors and advisor who answered his questions or connected to others in the Oregon entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“Invent Oregon gave me great ideas to speed up my process,” Mohammed continued, “like using a cricut machine to cut paper quickly and produce a polished product.”
Mohammed also turned frequently to the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship for advice while developing his business.
“The Lundquist Center was always the first place I went whenever I needed help,” he said. “It was a great place to get feedback.”
Next steps for Mohammed include growing and expanding PopMemories, while always continuing to learn.
“I hope the future brings more exciting ideas and more knowledge and awareness,” he said, “because anyone can be an entrepreneur.” And to aspiring entrepreneurs enrolled at UO who dream of one day launching their own business, Mohammed said to enjoy the journey.
“No one goes into entrepreneurship knowing exactly what they are going to do and how they will get there,” he continued. “The journey is part of a process where you learn the specifics of your idea.”
He also cautioned against worrying too much if your idea is already taken.
“Many people say ‘every good idea is already taken,’ but in reality,” he said, “you don't need the next big thing, or something completely different. It is sometimes the common ideas that take off.”
—Will Kennedy, Lundquist College Communications