To illustrate the problem he’s solving, cofounder and CEO Dave Meyer of Campuscene starts out with two simple statistics.
Only 50 percent of students who enroll in college complete their degree, he says. But 90 percent of students who drop out are in good academic standing.
“Clearly, the problem is not that students can't cut it academically, but rather that colleges and applicants are failing to find the right ‘fit,'” he says.
But Meyer thinks colleges can do a great deal to improve those numbers – starting with bringing their $7 billion-per-year recruiting processes into the 21st century.
For students, Campuscene is a website and iOS app where you can take virtual tours of colleges. But for colleges, Campuscene is a comprehensive recruiting platform. They can create virtual tours, interactive maps, and mobile apps to tell their school’s story. Then, Campuscene analyzes their marketing materials to figure out what’s working and what isn’t, and offers suggestions. For example, they might tell a San Francisco college that it could increase international applications by 12 percent by translating its site into Mandarin.
Campuscene costs $10,000 per year for colleges, who can blast out their marketing materials to their own website, to Campuscene, and to other sites.
Cofounders Meyer and Ryan Schwartz graduated in 2009, so they’ve quickly traded the stressful and intense life of students with that of entrepreneurs. Below, Meyer talks about the ups and downs of startup life.
Tech Cocktail: What's the hardest lesson you've had to learn so far?
Dave Meyer: When we first started, I kept thinking, “If we could only get another round of capital, our first employee, and office, things would get easier.” But I quickly learned that if things are going well, your job just keeps getting harder. It's something I've grown to love about startup life, but it was a hard lesson to learn.
Tech Cocktail: What do you wish someone had told you about startup life?
Meyer: I wish someone told me how time-consuming administration and logistics can be. Of course it's important we do these things well to succeed, but it can be frustrating to do when you'd much rather be growing and selling your product.
Tech Cocktail: What personality trait has served you best as an entrepreneur?
Meyer: An even temper. Running a startup is an emotional roller coaster and it's important to never get too high or too low.
Tech Cocktail: What's the weirdest way someone has used your product?
Meyer: This is more a story of how someone didn't use our product. I was with my cofounder showing off a prototype of our augmented reality mobile app, and the guy we were meeting with starting tapping on the back side of my iPhone instead of the touch screen. It was really hard not to laugh, and thankfully his assistant eventually corrected him so we didn't have to. That was the day I really started to understand the digital divide.
Campuscene was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail Denver mixer in September.