As the first week of the fall semester wraps up, students might be starting to look for some help to stay organized and motivated for their classes.
Schoolflow LLC, an automatic organizational tool for college students that has already been used by hundreds, is now on its way to reaching an even bigger audience, all through the hands of its creators who understand the struggles of college students on a personal level.
From his UCF dorm room in the summer of 2014, senior computer science major Simon Pacheco created a prototype of an app to help his peers with daily struggles in college, which launched in November 2014. In just about seven weeks with little marketing, the app had almost 1,000 downloads.
“As a computer science student, you are constantly told that in order to get a nice software engineering internship and become a good software engineer, you need to code a lot and work on side projects to supplement the things you learn in school,” Pacheco said.
Andre DeBarros, a senior finance major who started working with Pacheco on the app, said it is mostly for the freshmen who feel like they just got hit with a busload of new responsibilities, as well as the seniors who are juggling internships, work, school and social lives.
“You log in with your university credentials and we do the rest. We remind you when assignments are due, notify you if anything changes and display all your stuff in a calendar/agenda,” DeBarros said. “We’re very excited to keep improving things on both the student and professor side.”
Pacheco and DeBarros applied to join the tech accelerator Starter Studio in Downtown Orlando in January, where they met UCF electrical engineering 2014 graduate Gabe Medina.
Medina was working at Starter Studio at the time, and after working closely with Pacheco and DeBarros, he joined the team as a co-founder.
“We wanted to create an app that helps students worry less about keeping themselves organized, and let us do that for them so they can focus on more important things,” Medina said. “The purpose of the app is simple: to help save precious time.”
The original app, which was called ScholarBounty, underwent a name change to Schoolflow LLC, and the prototype was built from the ground up.
“Students never have to put in any of their assignments. The assignments get synced with your college curriculum and you receive notifications, such as when your professor adds an assignment, grades your assignment, etc.,” Pacheco said.
For almost three years, Medina also served as the director of support for Via Response Technologies LLC, a student-engagement platform that allows professors to keep their students engaged in and out of class through the student’s own smart device. With Via Response’s similar mission to help instructors and students across the country overcome the struggles of modern classrooms, Medina introduced Pacheco and DeBarros to its board members, who saw potential in the student-run organization and offered the team the option to merge with the software company.
Schoolflow has secured $50,000 in seed funding, and Medina said the team intends to use the funding to operate day to day. The app and Via Response have merged into Schoolflow Inc., and there are now two products available for college students — Schoolflow, a homework organizer; and Via Response, a classroom-response system.
“The merge will benefit us greatly in many ways. Our combined user base is almost 40,000 students and 900 instructors in top universities,” Medina said. “It allows us to be able to offer solutions for the modern classrooms for both the students and the instructors.”
Rachel Stuart is a News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @RachSage or email her at RachelS@CentralFloridaFuture.com.