28Mar

Study Curve

By David in Startups

Study Curve launched last August, after a year of development and beta testing. It is the brainchild of a Aaron Allina, a recent college graduate who had the idea when he was asked to do some computer programming on software that he had never heard of, and it took him weeks to finally find someone to help.

Allina thought it would be great to create a network where help was easy to find and the platform was equally easy to use. He began the development of Study Curve with the help of some students from a local university. The initial funding was between 50 – 100k, which came from years of savings, and from a couple family members. It seems quite steep, but what kind of things can you get for that kind of money? A Study Curve car for instance!

Since launch, schools have started using Study Curve as a student aid, and Study Curve has been recognized by the National School Board Association, the media, and are a finalist as “Educational Newcomer of the Year”.

We tried out Study Curve for ourselves, and we found extremely beneficial. During the signup process, you include courses that you have or are currently taken, as well as your general interests. Upon completion, you get prompted to your main page where it displays questions you can answer based on the information filled out. We didn’t have to dig through subjects we didn’t care about – we just got sent right there. The discussions were great, and everyone was very helpful. Study Curve also gives you the ability to rate other peoples answers, which is a great way to weed out the inaccurate answers. There’s also various social networking aspects, such as profiles, photo galleries, and groups.

Although startup costs seemed quite high, Study Curve looks like a promising site, and a fantastic resource for anyone in school.

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13 Responses to “Study Curve”

  • Julian:
    March 28th, 2008
    9:21 pm

    Invigorating startup, nice cover Dave.

  • Tom:
    March 29th, 2008
    6:10 am

    Good application, and good spot with what is quite a niche, but useful area.

    $100K is a hell of a lot of money though!

  • Aaron Allina:
    March 29th, 2008
    10:15 am

    I really appreciate the responses and article and hope you will tell others about StudyCurve.

    “$100k is a hell of a lot of money though!”

    You’re telling me. It’s my life savings and it’s been very difficult. I own another business and have worked my tail off to bootstrap StudyCurve. It’s been a challenge and I still don’t have enough money to do all the things that I want to do. I have made huge sacrifices to get my dream and passion going. I haven’t had a pay check in a long time, I haven’t been on a “vacation” in a long time, my wife and I are stressed every month when it comes bill time and this is just the start.

    Now while I believe that this is a lot of money relatively, it’s not very much when you look at how much a site like this costs others to start. There are so many things I could add to the site if I had more. I am trying to get very creative when it comes to marketing, etc.. because the well is almost dry

  • Spencer Fry:
    March 29th, 2008
    3:45 pm

    What did you investment ($50k – $100k) go into? Site building? Marketing? Legal fees? Patent office? I’m curious as to what areas you infused money into.

  • Aaron Allina:
    March 29th, 2008
    5:46 pm

    Most of it went into site building. The remainder has gone to travel, legal fees and trying different marketing approaches.

    I believe that you don’t need to spend much on advertising, however I am loosing more and more of that feeling. I have been really struggling to get the word spreading and I don’t think that paid advertising/marketing are the way to go. When money is tight you have to think outside the box and in my case not having the experience there is a lot of trial and error. I would love to hear anyones ideas that could help me.

  • David:
    March 29th, 2008
    7:09 pm

    I believe you could of gotten the site developed for QUITE a bit less, without losing any quality (assuming you spent roughly 50k on development).

    With that being said, I do agree with you that advertising can be done with little money spent.

    You made a viral video, so that’s a start. I assuming you’re advertising around local colleges? Have you tried any Facebook advertising? That seems to be directly in your demographic. College Humor and similar websites could be quite beneficial as well.

    Just keep in mind that where you’re currently at is the hardest part. Once things catch on, things get spread around quite a bit easier.

  • Aaron Allina:
    March 29th, 2008
    7:34 pm

    I didn’t spend even close to 50k on development although I did get quite a few quotes for that much. I actually hired college students to do the coding. They did an incredible job!

    In terms of advertising, I have had very little luck with facebook flyer’s. I will look at the other sites you mentioned. It hard for me to get the word out on campuses as I am no longer in school. I would love any in site you can give into this. I can’t wait to get the momentum going, it’s just so hard because it seems as if everyone is waiting for it to get bigger before they join. As you know this leaves me in a predicament.

  • Spencer Fry:
    March 29th, 2008
    8:18 pm

    Facebook Flyers are terrible. Who clicks ads on Facebook?

  • Julian:
    March 29th, 2008
    9:25 pm

    Aaron, I’m aware of the StudyCurve car, which seems like a great idea – have you tried other offline viral promotions? Although not very trackable, they seem to work quite effectively and can often be inexpensive – just a little creativity :)

  • Aaron Allina:
    March 29th, 2008
    9:48 pm

    I never click adds on facebook, however it was cheap enough to try…We are working on some other viral marketing ideas. I will keep you posted.

  • David:
    March 29th, 2008
    11:48 pm

    I hope you do. :)

    For one of my websites I started a Facebook group, and it brought in an extra couple hundred uniques, writers, and more involved users.

  • Aaron Allina:
    March 30th, 2008
    11:57 pm

    I have a group going on facebook and it’s generating lot of unique visitors, but not leading to new members. I think I need to change the text and video on the homepage to show what StudyCurve is. What are your thoughts?

  • WishR:
    April 10th, 2008
    10:05 pm

    Aaron, u really sld chnge the first page to something more descriptive. Try using typography to bring some focus onto certain aspects of what StudyCurve offers.

    How about talking to schools around where you live? And are you focusing on getting some niche marketing done? EX: getting students/professors @ Harvard / UCLA and the like to endorse your product ? Or a SpellingBee champ ? Get some testimonials up ?

    ” Since launch, schools have started using Study Curve as a student aid, and Study Curve has been recognized by the National School Board Association, the media, and are a finalist as “Educational Newcomer of the Year” ”
    Wow. How come you don’t have that on your front page ?

    I’ll let you on to something that has worked for me. I set my marketing budget to $0, for the first 4 months of any startup. It really forces me into thinking my marketing plan out in detail and come up with crazy creative stuff.

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