Bills. No one likes them. They creep up, steal your money, and then do the same thing 30 days later. Throw some roommates into the equation and paying bills can get downright nasty.
Luckily, two Cal Poly students have developed a software program that will make paying bills easier. So the next time a buddy blows all his dough at the bars the day before rent is due he has no excuse.
Omnispense.com was created by two former roommates: business administration graduate Tom Severson and computer engineering junior Jonathan Kelly. The program is designed to split bills with roommates, manage multiple co-op accounts with a landlord and remind people to pay on time.
Kelly wrote a rudimentary software program for personal use about two years ago. It was last year when Severson decided to use the software as his senior project.
“It came out of our own necessity at first,” Severson said. “We were tired of reminding roommates to pay bills. From there it just evolved to what it is now.”
After finishing his senior project, his project adviser encouraged him to pursue the software because she saw potential.
“(Severson) and his business partner had been working on it for some time-they had used it and knew it worked,” said Severson’s senior project advisor and current College of Business assistant professor of management, Myleen Leary. “I knew there were people all over the country who could benefit from it, so there was definitely a market.”
The two decided to test the market with their software and took out a $7,000 investment.
They are using various social networking Web sites like facebook and MySpace to get the word out.
“I call it Quicken for college students,” Severson added. “But it’s better because you can access it from everywhere. You can go on vacation and still see when you have bills due.”
Omnispense.com is user friendly. One only needs to go to the Web site and sign up for an account. After establishing the group and entering the names of each prospective bill payer, the bill amounts and due dates can be entered. The information is logged, and then split automatically per specific customizations. E-mail reminders to each person are sent out at least five days before the bills are due.
The plan to continue testing the market to see if they can find a lucrative niche.
They hope to someday end check writing altogether by utilizing PayPal on the site, Severson said.
The basic version of the software is free. The premiere version is more advanced and currently available for free for two months at Omnispense.com, but once the two months are up it will be $20 per household a year.