Mark Lazarus of Bridgeport, CT identified a new business opportunity a couple years ago when he was searching for a restaurant online and could find photos of the restaurant but not the location. He realized that there were many locations that were not easily accessible by map, especially locations within locations, such as offices or businesses in government buildings or universities. He decided to develop a mobile application, called URHere, which would allow people to find a location they were looking for, not only within a city but also within a particular building. He sees URHere as the start to growing the tech industry in Connecticut, helping to revitalize cities like Bridgeport and create jobs for an increasingly educated young workforce.

To help develop his mobile application and launch URHere, Mark was able to get a start up loan from Ascendus made possible by Ascendus’ partnership with The Hartford. The Hartford supports small business owners like Mark who are seeking to have a positive impact in their community. Mark will use the loan to patent his idea and codes, invest in additional programmers, and launch the application in the summer of 2015.

Mark has always been passionate about information technology and currently works fulltime in IT support at Yale University in New Haven. He has a strong connection to Connecticut’s shoreline, having attended school in Stratford and college in Bridgeport. He is a graduate of Norwalk Community College and the University of Connecticut.

Mark is a former martial arts instructor and is hoping to continue his love for teaching through his business by serving local college students in the Stamford/Bridgeport area. He sees URHere as becoming a technology incubator for the community, providing internships, training and career guidance to local college students and recent graduates. Mark strives to help young professionals starting out in the technology sector by providing career advice and mentoring to help guide young people who are interested in starting their own companies. He believes this spirit of giving back will help to create a positive economic change in his community.