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Graduate Student Makes Waves with App for the Maritime Industry

It’s not everyday someone tries to single handedly modernize an entire industry. Leimmi Zhang, a USC Iovine and Young Academy graduate student, has a vision and a platform to upend the maritime industry.

The platform is called 10ure. A play on words, the name alludes both to the definition of of the word tenure as an acquired permanent job status and a special one, as those in the maritime industry would know, which refers to mariners who have amassed a decade of sea time. At its core, the SaaS company provides a one-stop shop for anyone remotely connected to maritime work. It not only acts as a kind of “LinkedIn” for employer and employee, but also streamlines the hiring process, providing a simple way of validating applicant credentials, all while being painless and easy to use. Zhang says the platform is unique in that it supports an industry largely still stuck using outdated, unconnected hiring and job search processes.

“We were inspired when we learned that many of the hirings are still done manually in the industry. There are only limited digital solutions currently available in this space, even though it supports 90% of world commerce transports,” says Zhang.

With such a massive, untapped market, 10ure’s impact could be of tsunami-level proportions. Zhang sees the platform as an opportunity to connect and expand interest in maritime jobs, while also making it easier for businesses to hire and move the process along.

“The goal is to streamline the talent acquisition process for mariners so that businesses can hire qualified talent faster and smarter,” says Zhang. This way, mariners can obtain jobs faster and focus more of their time performing their highly skilled trades.”

Zhang and her team have built the platform with the user base front and center. It’s a principle called human-centered design, which she learned as a candidate in the Master of Science in Integrated Design, Business, and Technology program at the USC Iovine and Young Academy. Zhang credits the program with helping her gain the knowledge and tools she was missing to get her idea off the ground.

Leimmi presenting with fellow MSIDBT colleagues at IYA

“I applied to expand my design thinking and my professional network. Having a mix of design, business, and technology background,” says Zhang, who sees the program as an effective place to blend all three qualities. “The curriculum has prepared me to tackle some of the startup kinks that I now solve at 10ure.”

Zhang isn’t only charting a singular path because of 10ure’s unique positioning in the market, she’s also simultaneously diving into two industries few Asian women have ventured into: maritime and tech startups. The notion is anything but daunting for Zhang, who says her work has made her all the more determined to help set an example which others can draw inspiration from in their own entrepreneurial ventures.

The team behind 10ure includes Leimmi Zhang, Malcolm Monroe, Peter Fasula, Hemzeh Abdelmuti and Adil Ashiq.

“I want to set an example for all other ambitious Asian female professionals that they can pursue what they are passionate about and recognize and celebrate their differences as a strength and motivator.”

10ure has officially set sail and is now available online and on the Apple App Store.