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Thursday, March 26th, 2015


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Entrepreneur Success Story: Collegewikis

Like Wikipedia, CollegeWikis is an information resource, not a social network. CollegeWikis leverages groups to provide “information for your community” – including relevant topics for students ranging from local info to admissions, jobs, courses, events, where to buy books, and more. On CollegeWikis, students can join groups for their school, courses, dorms, and more; then send and follow group messages to peers. Those messages then become wiki-editable pages on the site, providing information that is always accurate and searchable by others.

Founder Joe DiPasquale came up with the idea while a student at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. “We had an email list for our class year, through which hundreds of messages were sent per week. But students faced two problems: the absence of group lists that we really wanted, like for our dorm or courses; and all the great content sent out over the list was soon buried in people’s email inboxes. CollegeWikis provides these groups and captures their content; it’s quickly becoming the ultimate information source for students.”

CollegeWikis closed a $2 million funding round led by HighBAR Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm founded by Bill Joy, Andreas Bechtolsheim, and Roy Thiele-Sardiña. Richmond Management, eCoast Angel Network, and Boston Harbor Angels also participated. Thiele-Sardiña will join CollegeWikis’ Board of Directors as part of this financing.

I talked to Joe DiPasquale, the 29 year old founder of CollegeWikis. He graduated from Harvard College in 2000, and Stanford Business School in 2006.

Why did you start this company?

I started the company while I was in business school. We had an email list for our class year, through which hundreds of messages were sent per week. But students faced two problems: the absence of group lists that we really wanted, like for our dorm or courses; and all the great content sent out over the list was soon buried in people’s email inboxes. CollegeWikis provides these groups and capture their content.

How did you get funding?
I stayed out in Silicon Valley after business school, and a few months after launching the site (we launched in April of 2007), I submitted to a business plan competition which venture capitalists were judging. We were selected to present, and one of the judges decided to follow the company for the next several months. When he saw our traction and learned more about myself and the team, he brought the idea of funding us to his firm. 
 
Tell me the most important step in starting a business.
1. Just do it.
2. Perseverance; businesses take a long time to get started
3. Get a great team.

Give me one concrete tip to starting a business
1. Start with either a) an idea: what is the need you are solving with that idea? , or 2) The passion to start something. 

What advice can you give other young entrepreneurs?
Try to be profitable from day one. (Depending on your type of business, this isn’t always possible). Start small and build it up over time.  Make your goal to have a product which a few people love rather than a product that a lot of people kinda like. 
 
CollegeWikis is free. To join the wiki for your school, go to www.collegewikis.com. .

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