Please enter your LinkedIn profile, degrees and institutions, skills, previous companies and experience (not bio). Also please include your Twitter, HackerNews, Facebook and GitHub handles if applicable. (500 characters max):
Math and Computer Science, UNC (May 2016).
Worked at Cisco, Shoeboxed.
My side projects:
6tracker (featured on Engadget, BGR, and some other tech news sites, 62,000 users).
estipaper.com (small tool for students).
trailrloopr.com (scrapes data from Apple’s movie trailer site).
Math and Physics, Harvard (May 2016).
Research computing at two academic institutions (UNC, NCSU).
Web design at the Harvard Crimson.
Developed Android app for an NGO.
One sentence pitch of the company
We make it simple for college students to plan their class schedules and get into the courses they want.
What is your product? (500 char max)
We made a course search which allows students to easily browse their university’s classes and plan a schedule. The existing systems are a huge source of stress and frustration, so students use paper and pencil or Excel to try to plan their schedule.
We also run a popular sister service which notifies students when a class they want has an available seat. Currently, students manually refresh a webpage over the course of months, waiting to see if someone has dropped the class they want.
What is the problem you are solving? Who else is trying to solve it? Why do customers need you? What pain point are you addressing? Who are your competitors? Why is the market attractive? (500 characters max)
Problem addressed above.
myedu.com - Pros: At almost every U.S. college. Cons: No product change in 4 years (they’ve shifted focus to getting students jobs), less (and outdated) school specific data, poor UX, purchased by Enterprise Software giant Blackboard.
coursepickle.com - Pros: Indie developer, decent UI/UX. Cons: only one school. Note: there are countless others like Course Pickle (student-created and supporting only one school). These almost always die out after the developer(s) graduate.
What is the market size/opportunity? How big is your market? Why is the market attractive? (500 characters max)
U.S. market size: 20 million college students, $622 billion. Global market size: 183 million college students, $1.8 trillion. Students in the U.S. spend so much money toward their education, and the problems we address are actually limiting their ability to complete that education in 4-years which is costing them thousands more in student debt. Thus, this is such a strong pain point they’d be willing to pay for a solution.
What is your competitive advantage? Why and how will you win this market? (500 characters max)
Our competitors haven't hit the major pain points, based on the thousands of surveys we sent out to students at 20+ schools. We’re the first company to offer a user friendly solution that’s highly customized to each school, which takes more dev time but has paid off in user adoption. For instance, no other product in our space (myEdu, courseoff, koofers, etc.) supports searching for classes by general education requirement, and most don’t even have a course description listed for each class.
How will you get people to use your product? Tell us all your thoughts, as well as any traction data that you might already have. (500 characters max)
We’ve been scraping the student email directory for each college and sending students emails prior to registration. We don’t have to spend a dollar, and sending the emails as plain-text gets us a unique CTR consistently between 15-25% depending on the school. We’ve tried some other free methods (campus reps, Facebook posts), but their effort/payoff ratio was a lot worse. We may move into AdWords or Facebook advertising in the future.
What is your business model? How will you make money? (500 characters max)
We haven't chosen yet, but we've been looking into our options. The ones we feel most comfortable pursuing are: textbook price comparisons, freemium/pay for use, and targeted advertising.
Textbook price comparisons: get paid affiliate fees (e.g. 6-8% from Amazon).
Targeted advertising: LSAT/MCAT/GRE prep books, jobs/internships based on the classes you’re taking, school specific ads (graduation rings, student store products), apps that are targeting college students, etc.
What is the status of your product? Please include a link to your product if it's ready to use. What user/customer traction do you have? What is site traffic or user downloads? Active Users? What is the revenue and other relevant metrics? (500 characters max)
Launched. http://www.coursicle.com/. We’ve had 16900 users so far. 8600 monthly active users. 26000 monthly sessions. 28 min average session duration.
Why your team? Why will your team win? Please tell us a bit more about how and when the cofounders met, and previous projects you may have worked on together. Also please tell us about a product or something impressive that each cofounder has achieved. (500 characters max)
As students, we know the workflows that make the most sense when planning, as well as the data that students want on each course. We met at a physics and math summer camp in North Carolina in 2010. We were both in high school at the time, and became good friends while working on physics projects together. We started working on Coursicle in its first instance in 2013, when it was called “UNC Class Finder”. Joe: 6tracker (Engadget, 62,000 users). Tara: GPU parallel computing for PDE research.
What is the team’s commitment to the company? What commitment is the team making to the ERA? Explain the status of each founder (full-time/part-time). Is your team committed to working on this startup for a year after ERA? Do any of the founders have existing commitments to return to school or to a job? Is your company based in NY? If not, are you planning to be here for the duration of the program? (500 characters max)
We’ll both be full-time once we graduate. We are committed to working on Coursicle for a year after ERA. We’ll both have completed school by end of May. If accepted, we would relocate to NY.
What is the status of the company? Describe the capital structure. Can you work in the US? How much funding, if any, has your company raised to date? What's your runway? (Cash in the bank/burn rate) The source of the funding? How long have you been working on this particular project (for each founder separately)? Where is the company incorporated (Delaware, New York, other)? How is the equity divided up? Do all founders have vesting schedules in place? (500 characters max)
LLC in North Carolina. 50/50 Tara and Joe, but we haven’t set up a vesting schedule. We can both work in the U.S. We haven’t received any funding. Our burn rate is $5/month for our DigitalOcean server (we’ve found free methods of advertising and the two of us do all the development). We both started working on it in 2013 when it was just for one school.
Anything else that you would like to add? Include names of advisors, unique team skills, intellectual property, or anything about you, like notable skills or awards. (250 characters max)
Here are some anonymized testimonials from our users:
"As I am sure many students have told you, this website rocks. It is an invaluable resource in helping plan out courses."
"[Coursicle]: the only weapon bestowed upon us."
"This is also one of the most user-friendly and intuitive websites I've used."
"Whoever you are, wherever you are, thank you for bringing a long-cherished dream to life for all of us."