Will Stellup Solve Mobile for Alumni Networking?

Playing with a mobile-only higher ed startup app.

June 8, 2016

Imagine that you are a recent college (or grad school) graduate. You move to a new city for your first job. You might be living in a totally different country.  

How do you connect with other graduates from your school?

You know that your professional (and maybe social) options will be a function of your ability to network and connect.  You want to find fellow graduates in similar industries for conversations, job leads, and advice. What do you do?

Vincenzo and Giuseppe Belpiede, both alums of CEMS - Masters in International Management, faced this challenge studying and working across Europe, Latin America and the United States as part of CEMS program. They found it difficult to connect with their fellow graduates and leverage those networks as they moved from city to city.

In order to offer a solution to this problem, they founded Stellup (available now for iOS, beta for Android).

Stellup is an app that promises to let us "find local connections", "meet other expats", and "grow your professional network".

I've been playing with the beta version, and I'm intrigued by what the founder brothers Vincenzo and Giuseppe Belpiede are trying to pull off. 

Some quick observations:

The App Advantage:  

Stellup was born and developed solely as a mobile app.  So many of our mobile education platforms started life on the web, and then made the (hugely awkward) transition to mobile. Stellup's app-only approach feels - well it feels more like an app.  

The app shows you people in either your alumni network or your industry / area of interest. Then - wait for it - you swipe right if you want to connect with the person on the app, and swipe left if you are not interested.  

Now I've never been on Tinder (honestly), so I don't want to judge a UI by association. The interface seems to work well for professional connecting.  Fast and easy.  So what's wrong with "borrowing" a navigation approach for alumni networking from a hook-up app?  

Business Model:

Stellup has an interesting business model. The app will be free to end users. The payers will be colleges that want to connect with their alums to support a campaign. 

University fundraising is a $37 billion market. There may be room for an app that combines mobile social and giving functions. If alums start connecting on Stellup, they also might be more likely to support their alumni associations and clubs.

Where this is all fascinating is that it is all built for mobile. Network, connecting, and giving from the device that we carry around all day long.

Could Stellup add learning features to its social platforms?  

Wouldn't it be cool if social came to mobile learning. 

Could an app like Stellup be a mechanism for graduates to connect with individual classes and particular faculty?

We need more innovation and experimentation in the mobile education space.  

I encourage you to sign up for the Stellup and see what you think.

What other startups looking to build mobile higher ed apps should we be playing with?



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