Nick Barba ’20 is one of six grant recipients of The Hunter Brooks Watson Memorial Fund (Hunter’s Fund), which “invests in young people who have shown talent, experience and passion.” The grants reward innovation and reflect on the talents and passions that Hunter Watson brought to his life. Hunter was a rising junior at Syracuse University majoring in Information Management and Technology, when he died tragically in 2016 in a distracted driving car accident. His family, friends and others created Hunter’s Fund to honor his legacy, and “provide support for young people who also approach life with powerful ideas.” Hunter’s Fund is also working with colleges and universities, including Syracuse, on educational initiatives designed to end distracted driving.
Barba was selected from the largest application pool in the history of Hunter’s Fund. In the announcement, Hunter’s Fund lauded him as “an entrepreneur, Eagle Scout and co-founder of Smarta, a cutting-edge app that streamlines communications between landlords and tenants.”
After pitching Smarta at the Whitman School of Management’s Orange Tank and winning a cash prize, the team registered as a C-Corporation and went on to win first prize in Whitman’s Panasci Business Plan competition this fall. It incubated in the LaunchPad where co-founders David Fox ’19 and Barba were Global Fellows. Barba is an an independent consultant project manager for the LaunchPad at Syracuse University.
The grant from Hunter’s Fund will enable the company to continue development of its technology and help pay a technical team to finish app development and launch a market-ready product.