Alumnus Brandon Hancock first experienced the thrill of entrepreneurship as a student at Mercer University, and he keeps that spark alive by regularly working to bring his new ideas to life.
Here are five things to know about Hancock:
1. He’s a software developer by day and an entrepreneur by night.
The Warner Robins resident, who earned an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering in 2018 and a master’s degree in software engineering in 2019, is a software engineer at Georgia Tech Research Institute. Hancock takes Fridays off from his job, so he can pursue his entrepreneurial interests and devotes much of his evenings and weekends to his personal projects.
“Ever since Mercer, I’ve had the entrepreneurial bug. I love working on stuff. It’s so cool to see people using stuff you’ve made and sharing it with their friends,” he said.
2. His latest product is gaining momentum.
Hancock launched his newest project to the public on March 5. Doink Disc Golf is a digital card game that groups can use while playing disc golf. It features rule sets and challenges that make each game unique and competitive for players of all skill levels.
Hancock started playing disc golf in 2020 during the COVID-19 shut down period and discovered many of the physical disc golf card games had either sold out online or were out of date. He and his friends wanted some new challenges and started making up their own rules, which inspired Hancock to begin working on an online game.
Doink has more than 300 customers so far, and Hancock hopes his product continues to grow at that pace.
3. Mercer showed him the way to innovation.
Hancock and Aaron Scherf won second place in the Mercer Innovation Center’s 2017 Next Big Idea Competition for a company called LandLink that uses data science and Blockchain technology to help municipalities maintain property records and assess property trends. That project led them to do contract data analysis work with local nonprofits like the Historic Macon Foundation and NewTown Macon.
In 2018, Hancock and Jonathan Kenton won first place in Mercer’s Next Big Idea for their Newt Knee, a “smart” knee sleeve that actively monitors and assists physical therapy patients during recovery. Their pitch in that contest attracted the attention of an interested party and resulted in a yearlong collaboration in 2019. The Newt Knee technology has now been incorporated into a company’s orthopedic/physical therapy equipment.
Hancock said his entrepreneurial experiences at Mercer showed him how to best tackle new projects going forward and what mistakes to avoid.
4. He’s always working on something.
“When Mercer did the Next Big Idea, that kind of flipped the switch for me. If I don’t feel like I’m making something, I’m not having fun,” Hancock said. “I’m always looking for new ideas to make. I have to stay busy at all times.”
Following the Newt Knee project, Hancock spent 2020 developing a product called SocialDisplay, an in-store digital sales assistant that is now being used at Z Beans and Fall Line Brewing Co. in Macon to display their most popular beverages. Hancock plans to keep on making new products year after year, and he hopes his projects will continue to get bigger over time.
5. He wouldn’t trade his Mercer experience.
Hancock said Mercer 100% prepared him for his career. The whole college experience was positive for him, and he developed lasting friendships as a member of Pi Kappa Phi. His Mercer professors, the Mercer Innovation Center and the surrounding community offered a tremendous amount of support to him.
“If I could do it again, I would do it exactly the same because I love everything that Mercer had set up. I’m super thankful for it,” he said. “I don’t think you can beat it, between the professors and the classes. It’s so rewarding.”
The alumnus often mentors high school students through his job, and he always tells them about Mercer’s engineering program, entrepreneurship opportunities and ways to get involved.