A Practical Solution for Entertainment Needs – The Colgate Maroon-News

A Practical Solution for Entertainment Needs – The Colgate Maroon-News

Printed with permission of Ari Roth

TELEVISION TEAM: The GateTVs team works to provide an alternative for students having to purchase televisions.

As the whirlwind of college life sets in, students are often met with the daunting task of outfitting their living spaces with the essentials. Nestled amongst the chaos of purchasing the basics, many students cannot help but wonder how they can maintain one thing from their home life: entertainment. Purchasing and storing a television as a student can be financially burdensome and time-consuming. GateTVs, Colgate University’s sole TV rental service created by seniors and co-founders Ethan Cott and Ari Roth, provides an alternative. 

GateTVs is available to students in all types of housing, such as university-owned townhouses, dorm buildings and off-campus houses in the Village of Hamilton. GateTVs delivers TVs to students before they arrive on campus, picks them up after they leave for the summer and comes with certain amenities and services. 

As first-years during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cott and Roth found themselves exploring their passion for business while creating a way for students to easily access entertainment. 

 “After being stuck in my dorm room my first-year during our quarantine due to COVID-19, I wished we had more entertainment options as students,” Roth said. “Wondering why we could rent fridges and microwaves but not TVs, GateTVs was born. After the quarantines, there was continued demand for TVs, so we pursued the idea.”

Cott and Roth approached Colgate University’s entrepreneurial incubator, Thought into Action (TIA), and were accepted. TIA paired GateTVs with Colgate alumni who had or are currently running successful businesses through a mentorship program. These alumni volunteer their time to work with Colgate students. 

Cott further elaborated that GateTVs’ mentors, through the TIA program, were instrumental to the success of their business. 

“We have been fortunate enough to have not only an amazing staff at TIA, but the aid of alumni mentorship from the likes of Per Sekse, Gary Ludorf and Josh Lasker, whose combined experiences as entrepreneurs and successful Colgate graduates [have] given us the tools through active mentorship to not only create a profitable company, but learn more than we could have imagined in the world of business here at Colgate,” Cott said. 

Roth shared a moment of encouragement between the team and Per Sekse. 

“In the beginning, it can be especially hard,” Roth said. “I remember Per Sekse saying, ‘Just get that first sale. Go and rent one TV.’ After that first rental, it gave us the confidence and momentum to continue renting more. We are fortunate to have grown our inventory to 60 TVs, all of which have been rented out this year.”

Cott and Roth are looking forward to the new chapter of GateTVs after they graduate this May. The incoming leaders are first-years Zaharah Fiorentinos and Matt Nemsick, who are excited about the opportunity to grow GateTVs as a company.

Toward the beginning of this school year, GateTVs reached out to the student body in search of succeeding leadership for their company. They were looking for someone with creativity, dedication and entrepreneurial spirit who could continue GateTVs’ upward trajectory. After a series of applications and interviews, Fiorentinos and Nemsick became the future of GateTVs. 

Fiorentinos described her enthusiasm surrounding this new opportunity. 

“It’s overall a very exciting opportunity for me to improve upon my marketing skills, learn more about running a successful business and building connections.,” Fiorentinos said. “I’m excited to work on marketing campaigns as well as potentially interact with customers. It will also allow me to engage more with Colgate in general, particularly through TIA, where I can learn from mentors and connect with other students.”

As far as future plans go, GateTVs hopes to expand its Colgate clientele by encouraging more students to rent TVs. They aim to explore the possibility of expanding GateTVs rental services to other schools. 

Cott shared his excitement about the future leadership of GateTVs. 

“When we founded this company, if you told us we would achieve the level of success we’ve had, I would’ve said you’re crazy. It brings us so much happiness to know that this venture will live on when we leave here with [Nemsick] and [Fiorentinos] leading GateTVs,” Cott said. “We’ve got the utmost faith that they will not only continue the success the company has achieved, but take it to new levels.”

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