Baylor alumnus develops utilities website

The My Utilities website helps users find the best rates for internet, cable and other utilities. Photo credit: Penelope Shirey

By Christina Soto | Broadcast Reporter

More than 40 million people move in the United States a year, according to the Home Data website. With moving comes the search not only for a new home, but also cable providers, electricity companies and internet providers.

Baylor alumnus John Harlow and his partner, Jordan Graft, developed the technology through a website that makes the search for utilities providers simple, fast, efficient and economical.

“We want to make the buying utility smarter. We have talked to people that are overpaying for their internet almost $1,000 a year,” Harlow said.

What started off as a six-month-long project in his parents’ basement became a nationwide app that covers 100 million households.

For Old River Winfree sophomore Janna Polvado, the app, My Utilities, became useful for her parents because of where they live.

“I live in the county about an hour east of Houston. There aren’t many cable providers in our area with reasonable prices, so we have been without cable for a couple of years now. A friend told me about this website, and I passed it on to my parents. They found it super helpful and informative,” Polvado said.

Harlow and Graft taught themselves how to code from a 300-page tutorial, Harlow said.

“First day, we looked at all the frameworks, looked at teach other and said, ‘We can do this,’” Harlow said. “Then later we were like, ‘No,’ but then the next day we started doing it.”

The 300-page tutorial helped lay a foundation for their new journey, but their support system got them through it, Harlow said.

“We had each other to pick each other up if one of us was discouraged. We couldn’t have done it by ourselves,” Harlow said.

Harlow said he always had the entrepreneurship mindset while he was at Baylor. He majored in economics, where he learned business.

“When I was at Baylor, I did a couple of things like make T-shirts that I sold at Common Grounds, and then between my junior and senior year, I bought and flipped a house and got excited about it. I liked the concept of going into business yourself and having the entrepreneurship mindset,” Harlow said.

Harlow never took computer science classes, although he said he wishes he had. He said that in order to be a successful entrepreneur, one has to have persistence, determination and resiliency.

“Everyone has cool ideas, but what’s really important is how you execute and build out on that idea,” Harlow said.