MNN Galleries

10 companies started by college students

By: Sidney Stevens on April 16, 2015, 1:12 p.m.
Austin Kevitch, founder of Brighten

Photo: Jeffrey Yu

10 of 12


In 2013, while studying abroad in South Africa, Bucknell University junior Austin Kevitch was devastated when a friend tragically died in a rock climbing accident. He was heartened, however, by the wonderful comments being posted on his friend's Facebook page. The comments inspired him and another friend to create a "compliment box" at their campus house where people could write anonymous positive messages on sticky notes to roommates and friends. Reading the notes became such a daily highlight that Kevitch decided to spread the good vibes beyond his circle of friends. His Brighten app lets users anonymously post uplifting messages and words of encouragement to people they know. Its simple mission: "to make the world a happier place by improving the way people interact and view one another."