Former Husker launches startup in Lincoln

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The drive and passion it takes to play a college and professional sport, is no different than the one it takes to start your own business.

Now one former Husker basketball player is doing both.

Walter Pitchford could drain threes and slam down dunks when he played for the Nebraska basketball team from 2012 to 2015. While he's no longer a forward for the Huskers, he is playing professionally overseas in Georgia.

"I love business and I love basketball and there's nothing wrong with doing both of them."

Even though Pitchford is out of the country, he's launching a startup here in Lincoln. His app is called Tokens and the goal is to alert you about deals that can save you money.

"It's basically like having deals on wheels," said Pitchford. "Say you're walking with a friend down the street. At first you will be able to be notified of whatever deal it is, it's a location based deal app, so it's Geo-locating."

Pitchford said eventually you'll be able to customize which deals you want notifications for. Adding the focus is on the business, not just the consumer.

Pitchford knew he wanted launch Tokens in Lincoln, which is why he sought out people who could help him with his startup. One of those people was Paul Jarrett the Co-Founder and CEO of Bulu Box.

Initially Jarrett said he was skeptical of how serious Pitchford was about his startup and app idea, as he gets dozens of requests for help from aspiring entrepreneurs.

"I said OK here's these three books, if you read these books and then can prove to me you read these books, then we can sit down and talk," said Jarrett.

Pitchford proved he was for real.

"He literally had just a notebook all filled out and I was like 'Oh, whoa!'"

Pitchford nailed his 30 second pitch and from there, Jarrett had an open door for him at Bulu Box. Pitchford could use a computer and work alongside the Bulu Box staff.

"I think it's the right thing to do, I think it's good," said Jarrett. "But then over time the learning by osmosis, because we are very transparent. So Walter would be at his desk and all of the sudden he sees revenue, profit numbers on the wall and looking up going should I be tracking those things?"

"I didn't know I would learn that much, he helped me shorten my learning curve, he instilled confidence in me and those are basically the basics," said Pitchford.

Another fateful meeting downtown, led Pitchford to Aaron Cornwell and Platte Gruber, who both agreed to come on board at Tokens.

Cornwell said, "It's the chance to be a part of Lincoln it's so up and coming all the time, Paul is a great example of that."

"It's exciting and inspiring because you see what other people have been able to do," added Gruber.

After hundreds of hours of work, Tokens is almost ready for the beta testing phase. Something that's exciting and nerve wrecking.

"We just all have to look at it, that a lot of startups fail, but that's not stopping us," said Pitchford.

But without risk, there's no reward. And now it's just a matter of being patient for Tokens to launch.