Purdue student startup creates printing app to allow access to printing from smartphones

March 26, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University students have developed an app that helps users print documents from smartphones to selected printers on campus, which could cut down on the time it takes to print.

"Working as a lab assistant in the ITaP labs on campus, I noticed a lot of people lining up to print just one or two documents, causing them to be late to their next class," said Pat Sabpisal, a senior in Purdue's College of Electrical and Computer Engineering and CEO of  the company. "I saw the market for an app that would allow users to print from their phones without the need to log in on a school computer, making it much faster and more convenient."

Sabpisal partnered with Joseph Watkins and Shen Yi, also students in the College of Engineering, and I Yang Li, a student in Purdue's College of Health and Human Sciences, to develop the app through their startup, UPrint LLC.

Users are able to download the app from the ITunes and Android store, and then print selected documents to compatible printers on campus.

"When users download the app, their account is verified by their Purdue email to allow access to the system. The UPrint option will appear when a document is selected and the list of printers where users have access to will drop down," Sabpisal said. "Users are able to add the printers they usually use to their favorites so they don't have to search each time, and the app allows up to 5 gigabytes of data and access to the school user drive from your phone."

UPrint is one of the first printing solution apps on the market. The company hopes to gain competitive advantage by attracting first users and eventually expand into more colleges throughout the country.

"Since we developed the app in mid-2014, we have had 1,779 users sign up and 10,800 documents printed. We are looking to test the system at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the coming weeks," Yi said. "Our application works with most current systems and is developed behind the scenes, so unless colleges have fully integrated printing solutions, our app can potentially be the main mobile printing solution system for each college."

UPrint is a startup out of the Anvil, a co-working space at Purdue and is one of five finalists of the Boiler Mini-Accelerator Competition, an eight-week seed accelerator competition hosted in the Anvil and supported through the Purdue Foundry.

"The Anvil has been very helpful with giving us advice, and we have really appreciated the guidance and direction," Sabpisal said. "We were invited to enter the Boiler competition and were very excited to be named as one of the five finalists; we will learn on March 29 if we made it in the top three."

UPrint is focusing on the main goals of stability and expansion; however, they are open to creating partnerships in the community to further grow.

"We are constantly looking to improve the reliability of this app. Right now, over 95 percent of the printing tasks are successful, and through feedback we are making changes to increase that number," Watkins said. "This is a long-term project for us, and as we grow and require more funding we want to partner with more people or organizations to help develop and expand."

About Purdue Foundry

The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. The Purdue Foundry is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year from the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org

Writer: Hillary Henry, Purdue Research Foundation 

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Cynthia Sequin, 765-588-3340, casequin@prf.org

Source: UPrint Team, Pat Sabpisal, Jack Shen, Joe Watkins and Rick Li, team@uprint.io 

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