Wabash Men Looking to Start Social Networkby Howard Hewitt • May 7, 2012 Share:
Every year colleges inundate students with mailings and spend countless hours and dollars in recruiting. Students likewise spend vast amounts of time trying to understand the colleges they apply to, searching for the best place to spend the next four years of their academic careers. Justin Taylor '15, Joseph Jackson '14, and Charles Kolisek '14 have found a solution.
"We began working on the site after the Entrepreneur Summit in February," Taylor said. "It really motivated us to try something new and go for this."
The website combines recruiting for athletics, the arts, and general academics into one location. This information is then managed like a social network allowing students to communicate with college admissions officers or coaches and visa versa.
"Our idea is to make a universal platform, there are all these little small sites [handling each part of the recruitment process separately] that do really well, but to make it convenient you need a one stop shop for all of the tools," Taylor said.
The site will do all of this. Moderated by their high school's counselors, students can post writing samples, athletic recruitment videos, art or music, and countless other forms of multimedia that can help in the admissions process.
"Colleges pay a fee because they gain access to recruiting information but for high school students it would be free," Kolisek said, referring to the business model. "Colleges spend a lot per student and we can lower the price by 70 percent."
(From left to right, Jackson, Taylor, Kolisek in photo)
The savings on printings alone is significant not to mention the time saved. Since the three had the idea for the company, they have been hard at work.
"Over the past two and a half months we’ve fully developed a business plan, a marketing strategy and over the last couple weeks we’ve been doing these business competitions," Taylor said. "We just came from a one in Ohio where you pitch your idea and then just work on it with others, like a mini-incubator."
The business competitions have allowed the three to gain network contacts, software, and valuable experience. They recently were awarded third place in Boston Chapter of the Princeton Entrepreneurship competition. They are currently waiting to hear back from accelerator programs that help fund start-ups, providing them with funds, office space, and networking.
The effort has already earned the three a Career Services Schroeder SEED Grant (Supporting Entrepreneurial Enrichment and Development), a new pilot program for the Wabash office..
"We're going to actually start going to high schools this summer and getting them to sign up for our site," Taylor said.
The group feels prepared for this after all the work they've put into the company so far.
“I've started to write the code for the site and build a prototype for the site so we have material to present to high schools when we try to get them on board," Kolisek said.
They are ready for pitches but plan to bring on another member to help with coding for the website. They have taken out advertisements around other colleges. It is important to remember that they have been doing all of this while still full time students.
"Professors have been pretty willing to work with me," Jackson said. "I mean its busy 24-7 but its definitely doable because everyone’s been so willing to help."