By @SimonCocking

Describe the company – the elevator pitch …                 supports students, parents and teachers with the college application process by providing a quick, simple and engaging platform to search through college courses effectively. We enable users to Search, Compare and Explore courses on mobile, desktop and tablet.

Over 70,000 students apply through the CAO process to colleges every year and they do so in a very work-heavy, fragmented and cloudy system where they are left with multiple tabs open, filtering through pages of padding and jargon trying to compare and contrast through 1400 courses. This is a very stressful process for both parents and students and often leaves them making poor decisions due to overwhelming data and the stress associated with trying to find courses. simplifies this – we do the ground work so that students and parents are presented with clear, concise and relevant data that they can actually engage with and understand. Students can perform searches quickly, and then filter by preference (Level/College) and can also compare courses side by side to really distinguish between every course.

We believe that students are being left behind in a time where technology makes all of our decisions quite simple. Everywhere you look, technology is simplifying everyday tasks like music, travel, movies and entertainment. brings this to education by improving decision making power and reducing overwhelming stress.

How are you different?

Our team separates us from competitors. Each of the four co-founders have been through the college application system and felt the pain of it. We genuinely want to solve this problem for students and parents. We all work in the tech industry so we used our tech and business background and applied it to an area that we know very well – education. We are different because we are built 100% user focused, we’ve conducted a massive amount of market research to find out what the students actually want and need – and we’ve built that and provided it to them for free, because we know that’s what the market is crying out for.

Why will the company / product do well?

We will do well because we have a great team behind a great product that will serve a vast amount of people and solve a big social problem. brings simplicity, centralisation, and usability to a very fragmented and outdated system and process. We are built to help students, parents and teachers by offering a single platform.

Just as Netflix and Spotify help to simplify entertainment, we are simplifying education.

When we speak to students and parents, we speak to them like people so that they know we are four genuine lads that understand their problems and frustrations and want to get rid of these problems for them.

Where are you based?

Dublin. Niall, Ken and I are based in Dublin and Wally is off travelling in Thailand! (claims to be working remotely but I have my doubts!)

When was the company launched?

After 12 months of research, planning and development – we finally launched one month ago to the day, December 2016.

What have been your biggest wins to date?

For us, helping students get through a stressful period is our biggest win. The engagement that we are getting from users, the feedback has been so positive – every student and parent we help is a small win and these all add up to be the big win.

What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?

Our target market is quite specific – prospective college students that are applying through the CAO. Generally these are 16-18 year olds – we want to take the stress out of the system for them and enable them to search quickly without the big looming stigma that goes with the CAO.

Parents are also a big target, from our own experience parents are a driving factor behind motivating teenagers to research college options. They want what is best for their children and to evaluate all options before applying.

Finally, teachers themselves. Guidance counsellors have such an important role for us, we are a tool that they can use to facilitate their own impact on students.

Tell us about your team?

We have four Co-Founders; Alan O’Beirne, Niall Cronin, Walter Holohan and Kenneth Casey. We are all GAA and sport mad, so our weekly coffee meetings in Wallys house was usually around chatting about club championships rather than technology! Niall and I are from Dublin, Wally is from Kilkenny and Ken is an overly proud Kerry man, so always made for a bit of craic.

We get on great, we are our own harshest critics and I think that it reflects in the quality of our site. Each of us brings our own bit to the table, some of us are dreamers, some of us are logics and I think this blend has worked really well and struck a great balance.

Its been a tough year, but to be honest I couldn’t of asked for a better group of lads to work with in such demanding conditions. You’d follow these lads into battle.

We all work in the tech industry. We are all great long term friends who shared the same frustration with the system, so we decided to do something about it. Each of us applied through the CAO in 2009 and went on to get Degrees and Masters in Technology related areas and now have industry experience with them.

 What are you long term plans for your product / company?

We are going to scale up – and quickly. We aim to be the industry standard for college applications, an international platform that simplifies college applications across the board. We are pipelining already for the UK, Australia and the US. We have the infrastructure, tech, team and passion, so we are going big.

What are your favourite tech gadgets?

As we are all tech heads, we have a few nerdy gadgets around. I’m sure Ken in particular has a few hidden gems but personally, I have a Fitbit and I think that’s great. Really handy way to monitor exercise levels and keep me on my toes.

What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?

An iPhone battery that doesn’t lose charge J would be a game changer.

Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?

Just a note for parents and students – the initial deadline for the CAO is 1st February at 5.15 to get registered on time. After this, course selection can be changed up until July 1st.

Apart from that, I think you’ve covered everything quite well, I just want to thank you for having me!

 How do people get in touch with you?

Drop me a mail to [email protected] would probably be the easiest. We are on Twitter and on Facebook

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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