A Q&A with OneSchool co-founder and CEO David Adewumi. The Mountain View, California–based company was founded in June 2011 and recently raised $750K in Seed funding.
SUB: Please describe what OneSchool is, and the value proposition you offer to college students.
Adewumi: OneSchool is a smartphone app designed for students to navigate college campuses and connect with classmates easily. Within a single app, students can discover the best lunch spots, buy textbooks, find their classroom on the go, track the bus to see where it is right now, search for professor and faculty contact info, check course listings, access the sports schedule and more. We’re continuously building out the app to be most useful for students.
SUB: What are your target markets?
Adewumi: OneSchool is targeted for students to use on campus, though professors and other staff on campus find the app helpful as well for its campus map, sports scores, and food, for example. You must have a “.edu” email address to use the app.
We launched our app at eight different universities last month: Stanford University, Yale University, Penn State University, Columbia University, UCLA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Houston, and University of Waterloo. We plan to roll out at more schools in the coming semesters.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Adewumi: There are a handful of schools that have mobile apps but we’ve found that many schools are not meeting student demand. What’s unique about OneSchool is that we offer practical information that students need for university life—both inside and outside the classroom. While smartphone usage among students has skyrocketed, most colleges don’t have native mobile apps.
We’re filling a need—students can use OneSchool to find everything they need in one place, and can access it anywhere on the go.
SUB: What differentiates OneSchool from the competition?
Adewumi: Not many college campuses have dedicated apps for their students to use, and the apps that exist aren’t updated regularly. Our team at OneSchool is constantly updating our app to provide students with the tools they need. We are putting students reps called Campus Founders on each of our launched campuses to gather on-the-ground feedback about what students want. Each university is different and Campus Founders capture insider information and unique details about student life to make sure the app is relevant for each campus.
Also, our product is completely free. We don’t charge schools an enormous sum to create an app for their campus. Instead, we take the information that is publicly available on the Internet and package it in one accessible app for every student. Schools have been seeing our app and want to get an app developed for their campus as soon as possible. We currently have over 150 schools on the waitlist.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took to establishing it?
Adewumi: The company was started in June 2011. It wasn’t long before we realized we had to move the team to California to pursue the creative and financial opportunities in Silicon Valley. My co-founders and I left Penn State to move to the Bay Area to begin working full-time on the app.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for OneSchool? Was there an “aha” moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Adewumi: The idea for OneSchool started with a picture message of a homework problem that was sent between friends. That’s when a few of us at Penn State realized that students use their smartphones all the time, yet there was not a lot of useful information available when it came to colleges.
Many college websites provide information about applying and other official information, but lack the day-to-day tools and resources students use every day. We decided to change that by creating something that allows students on any campus to have the resources and practical info they need to succeed both in and outside of the classroom, available anytime and anywhere on their smartphone.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Adewumi: The fundamentals are always the most significant: building a world-class team, raising funds to support the business, and setting an overall strategy and vision for the direction. So far we’ve been blessed to have had an easier time of this than 99 percent of companies, and that’s due to a great team and incredible advisors.
SUB: You recently raised $750K in Seed funding. What are your plans for the funds?
Adewumi: We’re using the funds to continue rolling out the app at more campuses and add additional features. The feedback we get from students is invaluable and lets us know what they want to see in our app next.
SUB: Do you plan to raise more outside funding in the near future?
Adewumi: At the time being we’re focusing on building out and improving our product.
SUB: What are your goals for OneSchool over the next year or so?
Adewumi: We want to continue rolling out the app on more campuses. We currently have a waiting list of over 150 schools that have requested a OneSchool app. Each campus is unique so we are also working closely with Campus Founders at each school to create the best app experience for students across multiple campuses.
OneSchool – www.oneschool.com