University of Virginia: Launch An App, Make A Forbes List. Why This Ambitious Alum Is Only Getting Started

The wheels of innovation spun in Mike Shebat’s head as he watched his mother write a check to his piano teacher following a lesson.

While this was a typical form of payment for the early 2000s, it seemed archaic to a 10-year-old Shebat. He thought, “What if this transfer could be completed electronically?” Shebat scribbled his imaginary device on a piece of paper. Though he didn’t give it a name, the drawing resembled today’s Square Point of Sale application, where a credit card can be swiped on the spot.

“This was before iPhones were even a thing,” Shebat said. “It was very old school, but I thought it had potential.”

It’s that kind of forward thinking that landed Shebat, now a University of Virginia alumnus, on Forbes’ prestigious “30 Under 30” list in December. The renowned business publication recognized Shebat, 29, as a rising star in consumer technology following his founding of Traba, a mobile app that links willing workers with short-staffed businesses.

“As long as they have a hard work ethic and a desire to show up and get the job done,” Shebat said, “we allow workers to get connected to warehouses, event venues and distribution centers.”

Workers can build their own schedule. Employers can fill their shifts. Traba, which launched in July, is billed as a win-win and a way to combat the nationwide labor shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Shebat, who leads Traba with cofounder Akshay Buddiga, said the Miami-based startup company has more than 3,000 workers on its platform and is connected to 25 businesses in the South Florida area.

“There’s a lot of different avenues we plan on going,” said Shebat, who has visions of global expansion, “but we plan on becoming as big, if not bigger, than Amazon. We are thinking through all the different ways we can empower workers and businesses to reach their full productivity and potential. That’s why we’re hiring the best engineers in the world, the best operators in the world to join the team.”

Shebat has never shied away from lofty ambitions. Appearing in the spring 2020 edition of UVA’s Arts & Sciences Magazine, Shebat, who received his economics degree in 2014, said he hoped to launch his own company within 10 years.

It took less than two.

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