9 Cool College Start-ups

Brian Laoruangroch, Ebay
Anthony Verde (still life)
2 of 9

Green Mobile, University of Missouri

Brian Laoruangroch's eBay hobby has grown into a business with $500,000 a year in revenue. Starting in 2004, the University of Missouri student realized he could buy old mobile phones and resell them for a profit. He built his own website to market refurbished phones and then opened a kiosk in a local mall. Last summer, Laoruangroch decided the business, Green Mobile, was large enough to support a retail storefront. He borrowed money from his parents and then landed a $50,000 bank loan backed by the Small Business Administration. Along the way, he pumped money into Green Mobile by doing side work as an actor and model in Kansas City. He drew on that acting experience to make a series of kitschy TV commercials, which feature Green Mobile Man, a superhero who goes around saving people money. When he punches villains, a big "KA-POW" appears on the screen. "I knew that we had to do something really outlandish that would last in people's minds," he says. —Jacob Stokes, Missouri class of '09