Next on our Why We Invested is NameDrop, which is starting a paradigm shift in how college students interact with their campus and local communities. NameDrop is a dedicated social event platform that offers a one-stop shop for college life needs, allowing students to connect, share information, and create events. In a controversial time, NameDrop offers use for social events in college students’ lives.
There has never been a more critical time to solve the problem of how college students can find information on events, programs, and social encounters on their campuses. Unfortunately, as the coronavirus pandemic forced many schools to shift to virtual learning, it became difficult for students to connect with their peers and participate in the on-campus activities that are a vital part of college life.
The desire for human connection is a universal need, especially for young adults navigating the complexities of academia and the transition to adulthood on college campuses. However, many local communities and universities need improved infrastructure that engages students effectively with their surrounding communities, resulting in a disconnect between them. This disconnect can be detrimental to a student’s mental health and academic performance. Research has shown that students who are actively involved in social events experience lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression and perform better academically. Therefore, fostering an environment that encourages and facilitates student involvement is essential. By doing so, students can gain a sense of purpose and belonging, develop valuable skills, and make meaningful connections that will benefit them throughout their lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also drastically changed how students engage with their communities. While the environment is slowly returning to normal, students who started college during the pandemic have missed key pieces of the traditional college experience, including the opportunity to connect with their local communities.
Student organizations hold events but are run by old-school tactics, e.g., GroupMe or even paper posters. Walk into any university building, and you’ll still see flyers, and ask any student how they hear about campus programming, and they’ll probably say email. But these are not the ways students interact with each other! There needs to be innovation that matches the process of organizing an event (from inviting friends to raising sponsorship to selling tickets) and looks like the ways students actually communicate. Though solutions for individual pains exist, nothing ties it all together in a seamless platform. As a college student in the music department, you might attend a music event with hundreds of students (slightly overwhelming), leaving one feeling disconnected from the music community. The problem gets even worse for older or nontraditional college students.
College life is an exciting time, but it can be overwhelming. With so much going on, it is challenging for students to find information on the events they are interested in on their college campuses. While social media is a go-to resource for many students, current platforms don’t always cater to college-specific needs. Current student engagement options are limited to social media, admission departments, career fairs, and campus visitors. However, these tactics have proven ineffective in engaging students, demonstrated by their low attendance rates and decreasing engagement on platforms like Facebook. As campuses try to reach students, they have turned to other platforms. Still, Instagram and Snapchat videos are often missed, Twitter is seen as too professional, and Eventbrite is geared toward commercial events. To effectively engage students and encourage community involvement, there is a need for innovative and more comprehensive solutions that can bridge the gap between students and their local communities.
NameDrop fixes this gap with a solution tailored to the college demographic’s unique needs. When social media is often seen as a negative influence on mental health, NameDrop offers a positive use case for social media in college students’ lives, providing a safe and fun way for them to stay connected and informed. NameDrop is a dedicated social event platform that allows students, professors, faculty, and community members to connect, share information, and launch and create events. The platform is designed to be positive, informative, and fun for students, offering a one-stop shop for college life needs. With students and faculty both able to use NameDrop, it fills a void in the market by creating a social media platform just for college community members. By offering a way for students to connect and engage with their peers, NameDrop provides a valuable tool for navigating college life.
NameDrop’s platform allows users to quickly scroll through events based on geography and view who is going to or interested in attending. The platform offers a wide range of events, including local business engagement events, fundraisers, university organization events, and student parties.
Users can customize and filter the types of events they are interested in and even add events to their calendars with alerts for time and recurring events. Their product also allows users to see location information for each event and facilitates transactions for purchasing tickets or raising sponsorship. One of the product’s unique features is inviting friends to an event and seeing who else is going or interested in attending. This creates a virtual sense of community that will be realized at the event and helps foster connections between users even before the event occurs. Whether looking for a fun night out or attending a philanthropy dinner, this platform has everything you need to stay up-to-date with your local area’s latest events and activities.
The team is comprised of highly accomplished individuals with diverse backgrounds and expertise. Lisle Moore, a Berklee College of Music graduate, is a successful music entrepreneur who founded Lisle Moore Music Inc. and wrote the Theme Song for the NBA, among many famous commercial film trailer campaigns. Jacob Curtis leads NameDrop’s operations on prospective college campuses and previously worked as a strength coach for Utah Jazz and Atlanta Falcons. He conducted over 500 customer discovery interviews and built a web of 100k+ students to launch the app across 70 campuses. He’s also been speaking at universities, like Jacob’s talk here at the University of Alabama. Lastly, Russell Jack brings decades of UI/UX experience from early to post-IPO startups. Russel is now designing a beautiful and engaging NameDrop app — stay tuned for the bada$$ designs. Together, they form a team with a broad range of skills and knowledge to take on various challenges confidently and professionally.
Redbud VC is an early-stage venture capital fund and studio investing monetary and social capital in early-stage tech founders.