We last featured Equals6 in September, when the company had signed up about 5,000 students and 75 employers to its site. In the ensuing eight months, it has almost tripled the number of students registered on its site to 13,000, and the number of employers has risen to 125.
Now with its first external funding – the founders have financed the project themselves and bootstrapped thus far – the company plans to broaden its marketing and work on a few new products that could increase revenue.
“It’s a great validation for what we’ve done here,” co-founder and CEO Andy Osburn said in an interview.
Equals6 -- which derives its name from the notion that with the right ingenuity two plus two can equal six -- lets university, college, and high school students connect with employers, academic institutions and other students. The thinking is that students use Facebook to socialize, and working people use linkedIn for business networking, but there was not a site that can help students learn about job prospects and link up with paying employers.
Students can register for free on the site, while employers pay to join, and are incentivized to do so because equals6 lets them learn more about the most qualified students for their business. The company now has two income streams – the employers who pay to join, and advertisers who want to connect with young adults who will soon be young professionals. Almost half the students on the site are high school students, and the advertisers include leading post-secondary institutions.
Osburn said he will use the funds for marketing and broadening the features for its two key constituencies, students and employers. Equals6 now employs 10 part-time student ambassadors at institutions across Canada, who help bring other students to the site. It is interested in expanding this network in the northeastern U.S., so its number of ambassadors could reach 15 in the near future.
“Facebook built their online network by based on a physical network,” he said, adding the older company used networks of students to act as evangelists for its site. “And really that’s what we’re trying to do now.”
It also wants to launch a series of online recruiting events, so its employer clients can hold a sort of cyber-job-fair that can target students in specific years, faculties and areas of expertise.