My name is Ameya Deshmukh and I am a doctoral student at The Ohio State University studying Biomedical Engineering. My family moved to the United States from India in 1998 in search of higher education and greater opportunities. As a recent immigrant, my father worked his way through a PhD while my mother completed her Master’s, all while raising me and my brother. Watching my parents pursue the highest degrees in their respective fields inspired me to eventually do the same.
In my pursuit of higher education and entrepreneurship, I realized there was a gap in the market for academic help resources for college students. Many of my own peers were giving up on their dreams because they didn’t have the resources available to succeed. I have observed this same feeling of defeat as a private tutor for middle and high school-aged students. I knew that there had to be a better solution to the disorganized academic-help market at Ohio State and on college campuses. From this, the idea for PeerUp was born, an idea that has been validated and refined for product commercialization and launch.
My vision for PeerUp is strongly supported by a team who not only compliments my skillset, but is equally passionate about improving the lives of college students– people just like us. Matt successfully piloted a mobile safety application on Ohio State’s campus and understands how to engage appropriate stakeholders. Charles has been developing mobile and web applications for more than 5 years and continues to refine his skills through the pursuit of a Master’s in Software Engineering at the University of Southern California.
Together, our hope is that, through PeerUp, college students everywhere will achieve their dreams as my parents did and as I will too.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
PeerUp is a mobile and desktop application that allows classmates to connect to each other to ask questions, work on homework, and study utilizing location-based technology. Students begin by logging into the app and indicating for which class they are studying. Students can then see other individuals or groups of classmates who are already hard at work. The user simply requests to join one of these sessions, messages their classmate(s) and meets at an agreeable location. As students use the app they earn virtual “points” which can be redeemed at local businesses for free or discounted products. PeerUp earns revenue by partnering with universities, creating individual user accounts for each student and collecting critical data on student study habits and trends. PeerUp plans to contract with three universities in Ohio for the initial product launch in fall of 2016.
Ameya, a long-time student tutor, approached co-founder Matt in January 2015 after recognizing a clear lack of academic help resources on college campuses. Together they worked to validate their assumptions: students are struggling to find the help they need, leading them to drop out of classes, change majors, and potentially miss out on their dreams. In late 2015, the pair recruited CTO and fellow Ohio State alumnus, Charles, to help turn their idea into a reality.
Today’s college students bear the weight of heavy expectations. Finding a job after graduation or gaining admittance into professional school now requires a top GPA balanced with multiple extra-curriculars and internship experiences. Less time to focus on studies and the added stress of student debt distract and hinder student success. We are genuinely excited to provide a technology that can alleviate this burden.
What is the purpose of this loan?
Kiva loan funds will provide the capital necessary to launch our application at three participating universities in Ohio this fall (2016). Ensuring the PeerUp technology can be used smoothly and store critical data, like saving created user accounts and tracking location, will require appropriate server storage and hosting. These costs, assuming a usership of 10,000 students will amount to $5,000 for the year.
To protect PeerUp and its users from liability concerns, we estimate $1,500 in legal fees.
The success of PeerUp also relies on a large number of students joining the service, so that any given time a student uses the app, they are able to find other students studying. In order to gain this usership, PeerUp plans to launch a marketing campaign targeting students, professors and administrators. We believe this total cost will be approximately $3,500.
A $10,000 Kiva loan will equip the PeerUp team with the resources necessary for a successful launch. As a PhD student, I am limited in the funds that I can put towards this $10,000 goal. Time spent identifying capital and raising funds takes away from energy that should be directed towards helping deliver PeerUp to students in need.
The development of PeerUp is driven from our team’s passion and commitment to helping the 20,000,000+ college students across the United States. We ask you to join our fight. Visit www.PeerUp.co to learn more.
Years in operation: 1 year – 3 years