Study Edge Meets Tinder: Gainesville has a Knack for New Business
If you’re not a first-semester freshman, you know about those dreaded green and blue packets. Between Tutoring Zone and Study Edge, the market of study aids seems to be dominated by the conglomerate of corporate business. Power players like Study Edge have eaten away at the competition, providing supplemental instruction that ends up being a second class in itself while eagerly taking your money.
Frustrated with the lack of diversity in the tutoring world, University of Florida students Dennis Hansen, Samyr Qureshi, Shawn Doyle and David Stoker decided to take matters into their own hands.
Between the distinct but similarly saturated markets of study aids and apps lies Knack.
The Basics: How Knack Works
“This app is essentially an Uber for knowledge,” says Hansen, one of the founding partners. “The basis is that it’s always nice to talk to someone who has taken a class before you, who got a good grade and see what they did.”
Knack makes that idea a reality. It allows anyone with a B+ or higher to take a picture of their transcript with the grade, upload it to their profile, and get connected with those seeking help in the class.
“It’s all about peers teaching peers, learning from a friend rather than paying expensive tutors,” says Hansen. “It’s on demand: what you need, when you need it. You don’t have to sit down for four hours at Study Edge. Instead, you can find someone available now who can help you, for however long or short of a time you need.”
Beyond the convenience provided to those seeking help, Knack also provides students with a marketplace within which they can exchange knowledge and turn it into cash.
Plus, its location services allow you to pinpoint where someone is in reference to you. Oh, that hot nerdy girl is at Marston too and aced Biochem? Swipe right.
The added bonus of seeing mutual friends allows you to find people you could know. Wait, my ex-slam is friends with a kid who got an A in OR2? Anyone trying to bang out a few homework problems then bang on fourth floor Lib West?
In a market overpopulated by “the next Snapchat” or Angry Birds-esque games, this idea stands above the rest because of its simplicity. Like others who have succeeded, it uses a minimalist interface to make connection within a community.
Knack is a byproduct of a new and evolving Gainesville.
The Gainesville Community
Hansen agreed that the community is “always willing to give their expertise and advice.”
“The people here offer so much mentorship from their own experiences. And most people love the entrepreneurial climate here; way more companies have grown and decided to stay instead of following the Gainesville exit strategy. As someone who knew I always wanted to start my own company the atmosphere in Gainesville and the UF Hatchery has allowed me to meet other entrepreneurs, talk about my ideas and learn what a good idea and a bad idea looks like.”
His experience is becoming the driving force behind Gainesville’s initiative to recruit more and more students to stay and contribute to the community that gave them wings in the first place. The university and the community have begun to open their doors to the freshly graduated fledglings, fostering a haven for those seeking a unique approach to an evolving twenty-first century job market.
For many, UF is the transitory nomad campus where you destroy your liver and make bad decisions until senior year when you peace out, returning only for the occasional nostalgic alumni LSU game day. However, Gainesville has slowly revealed untapped potential and attracted UF graduates who are searching for their next step.
Knack proves that Gainesville is not a dead end. It’s the beginning. It’s a community with diversity and opportunities beyond that which we might write off.
For those hoping to redeem their souls from Study Edge and Tutoring Zone, Knack will be launching in Gainesville for Fall 2015.
Feature photo courtesy of: Imgkid