What are you working on now? Enter a description of your project or company. Include a summary of who you're working with, significant milestones achieved, and a frank assessment of challenges ahead.
I’m working on Coursicle, a service that 1) makes it easy for students to browse their college’s courses as well as plan their course schedule and 2) notifies students when a class they want to take has an available seat.
Coursicle is necessary because almost every college provides slow, unintuitive, and ugly online systems for course registration that haven’t been improved or altered in decades. These systems are a huge source of stress and frustration. As most students have no alternative, they use paper and pencil or Excel to plan their schedule, and they manually refresh a webpage over the course of months to see if someone has dropped the course they want to take.
I’m working with Tara Aida, a senior at Harvard (she attended the summit last fall). She’s a fantastic designer and self-taught developer. The two of us handle everything: business, marketing, and development.
Last November we had over 15,000 users, and during the last three weeks of February we expanded from 5 to over 100 schools. We’ve also seen great engagement from our users (e.g. 28 minute average session duration), and recently added a feature that allows students to see what classes their friends are considering in real-time.
The primary challenge we face right now is managing/overcoming our product’s seasonality (we’re not relevant to users year-round), as it has limited our growth. A close contender is figuring out how to deliver our product to students on a massive scale. So far, we’ve been scraping colleges’ email directories and sending students emails prior to registration. We don’t have to spend a dollar this way, and we’ve been getting crazy CTRs of 15-25%, but we think we can find a more efficient and organic method for user acquisition.
What cool stuff have you worked on in the past?
I was able to get Wi-Fi access on planes and hotels without having to pay anything by setting up what's called a TCP-over-DNS tunnel (it mixes networking protocols to get around the typical restraints).
I’ve also done a few small 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).