Last week, friends and family members gathered in DC to celebrate the launch of StudyHall, a startup gearing up to disrupt higher education. The walls were plastered with schools’ memorabilia and fake StudyHall profiles of each attendee. The room was buzzing with energy and excitement and rightfully so: StudyHall has the potential to push Blackboard off its pedestal and give Facebook a run for its money.
So, what is StudyHall?
Co-founders Ross Blankenship and Ben Winter are trying to solve the lack of collaboration among students by answering the question, “What do you do when you can’t go to school but your test is tomorrow and you need a study buddy?” They built a platform that would solve these tasks and more.
StudyHall is an exclusive students-only social platform with an academic goal. Imagine Skype meets Dropbox meets Google+ Hangouts meets Evernote – oh and let’s through in Facebook for good measure. You can video chat or IM with other students and share notes, study guides, and a document depository, all for FREE! Future plans include a marketplace for books, where you can buy recommended books for your courses and trade books with other students.
Another cool feature is study buddy “matchmaking.” Once you create a profile with your courses, study habits, GPA, and personal information, the algorithm will recommend study buddies from the same school or from a different school (as long as the course is the same).
Though launching at Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, Middlebury College and Cornell this fall, the market for StudyHall is pretty huge, with about 29 million undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the 2012-2013 academic year. With the team’s combined experience in the education field and with strong technical and business backgrounds, the only thing standing in their way is gaining mass traction. With ambassadors at colleges and universities already lined up, it seems they are on track to achieve that.