UT students channel Austin start-up energy with Varfaj Partners

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From left to right, Abby Schwartz, Jack Sharkey, Niv Henn, George Sears, Jared Wolff and Dan Danzger are all involved with Varfaj Leaders, an initiative that helps support rising student businesses.

Photo Credit: Blaine Young | Daily Texan Staff

Thirty University of Texas and New York University students are expanding their technology consultant company, Varfaj Partners, to support other student businesses in a initiative called Varfaj Leaders.

Varfaj was started in 2018 by Austin resident Cameron Zoub and NYU student Steven Schwartz to provide affordable tech-related services to existing businesses, varying from website building to digital marketing. After generating $250,000 in sales, Varfaj has expanded their Austin branch to include 15 UT students. With their charity initiative starting April 1, the company will begin providing free service to young entrepreneurs ranging from middle school to college.

Niv Henn, advertising sophomore and chief operations officer, said Varfaj wants to give students an opportunity to start their company at a young age.  

“We were fortunate enough to have the resources we were able to call upon to make (Varfaj) happen,” Henn said. “We started realizing other people have these same dreams we do, but they don’t have the means to get there.” 

Through the Varfaj website, students can submit business ideas to the company. If approved, Varfaj will help student entrepreneurs build their business, a service costing up to $50,000 for regular clients.

“To get our attention — sell your inspiration the best you can, and if it’s feasible, Varfaj will help make it happen,” Henn said.

 

Jared Wolff, business freshman and chief marketing officer, said the most rewarding aspect of Varfaj Leaders is sharing Varfaj’s success.

“The best part about it is we can help young entrepreneurs, because we have personally seen the earlier you get into business, the better off you are,” Wolff said. 

Co-founder Zoub said Varfaj initially faced age bias.

“There’s always going to be people who will say, ‘You guys are too young for this task’ and write us off immediately,” Zoub said. “Once we are able to establish a relationship with a potential client, they begin to realize how professional we are and we know what we are talking about.”

Jack Sharkey, computer science freshman and developer, said although finding a balance between managing projects and school was challenging, the real-life application of computer science made the extra hours worth it.

“I love the fact that I can take on any project, learn about how to do it and then actually go through with making it, and in the end, I come out a smarter version of myself,” Sharkey said.