GrouperEye is a new site that has launched as a marketplace for companies to find students to help them out with particular projects. The idea is to find students that are passionate about what they do, and will be able to benefit from this type of “internship.” The projects they work on are listed on GrouperEye as real time cases, which are formatted as competitions, giving the companies fresh perspectives and budget-conscious results. Below is an excerpt of an interview I had with Ted Williams, the President and Founder of GrouperEye.
Kristen Nicole of SocialTimes: What exactly is GrouperEye and how did you come up with the idea?
Ted Williams of GrouperEye: GrouperEye is a platform that facilitates real time case competitions online. GrouperEye exists to match remarkable students with remarkable companies.
Senior year of college, Professor MacDonald took our marketing class to Rockbridge Vineyards. At the vineyard, we learned about the wine making process and the history of that particular vineyard. The vineyard owner then handed us a wine bottle without a label. Our class’s mission was simple: create a label and an advertising campaign to go along with it.
From a student perspective, it was awesome to work on a real business opportunity. The whole class loved it. Eight weeks later, the vineyard owner came to our class as each group pitched him their new bottle and ad campaign. The vineyard owner was floored with the results and had the opportunity to cherry pick the best talent from the class. And needless to say, the next time anybody in the class bought wine, guess which brand they chose? Yes, Rockbridge Vineyards.
Kristen Nicole: How does GrouperEye work?
Ted Williams: Companies post a case. This case may be a real time problem or opportunity that they are experiencing. Students then compete to come up with the best solution and submit this solution to the company. After the submission deadline, companies evaluate solutions and choose a winner. This winner receives the employment opportunities and $100. We are not a crowdsourcing tool, we are an HR tool. We don’t do business with companies that want logos, we do business with companies that want talent to make their logos mean something.
Kristen Nicole: Why are you targeting college and university students?
Ted Williams: We are young and we see a problem that we are trying to fix. We are not targeting anyone or thinking beyond that. We just haven’t thought about targeting older people because we don’t know what they need or how they think.
Kristen Nicole: With the current market, what benefits does your system offer to companies and students?
Ted Williams: Students receive the chance to get noticed for a job opportunity, cash, experience, and a tangible portfolio. This is a chance for students to get noticed based on their ideas rather than a resume or interview. Companies receive access to top talent, an employee screening mechanism, original ideas, and buzz. Never before has hiring the right person been more important. This is a way for companies to engage and evaluate students before making the hiring decision. Educators receive real business opportunities to teach from, student placement, and the chance to compete.
Kristen Nicole: How do you make money as a web-based “data middleman?”
We make money through case postings. Companies pay $199 to post a case on the site and $100 of this fee is used as the prize money for students. We believe this is a no-brainer for companies and we even refund them if they don’t receive a minimum of five submissions. Our current goal is to get companies, educators, and students to trust that we will provide value to them.
We also provide a list of cool opportunities in regards to internships/entry level jobs. This is free for everyone and we do it to provide students another reason to come to the site and hopefully get them interested in the cases.
To be honest with you, we really don’t care about making money. We are not worried about that. We can find other ways to pay the rent. We want to allow organizations to engage with students so that the most talented are matched together.
Kristen Nicole: Any plans to integrate with niche or widely established social networks like Facebook?
Ted Williams: This sounds cool and we have a Facebook group, but that is about it. To answer your question, if this gives more opportunities for remarkable organizations to meet/engage/work with remarkable students, we would love to do it. If you have ideas, send them my way!
Kristen Nicole: What are your ultimate goals with GrouperEye?
Ted Williams: GrouperEye is based on three principles: (1) the system for young people finding meaningful work is broken, (2) The solution is for organizations to meet, talk, and collaborate with young people earlier, more often, and in creative ways, (3) young people are valuable to organizations.
Companies need to discover and hire the best talent. Students need a way to get noticed for their ideas and originality.
My ultimate goal is for remarkable young people to do work that excites them at their first job.