Northwestern sophomore launches website to connect startups, students

Yaqoob Qaseem, Reporter

A Communication sophomore launched a website at Northwestern on Tuesday to help students find jobs with startup companies.

Zach Spohler co-founded LaunchQuad with David Greenstein, a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania. After undergoing a round of testing at Penn which began last fall, the website is now open to NU students.

“LaunchQuad aims to connect the entrepreneurial community on campus and also provide resources for it,” Spohler said.

Spohler and Greenstein said the website has several features, including a board where startups post about their projects and open positions, an internal messaging system that allows students to directly message founders and a jobs board with a variety of openings at university-affiliated companies — for example, those run by alumni.

“Think of it as an interactive bulletin board,” Greenstein said. “The startups post and you can see upvotes, you can see who’s upvoted it, you can give public feedback, comments. That’s one feature, the listing of all the startups.”

Both Spohler and Greenstein said they thought of the idea while facing difficulties in finding startup opportunities on their respective campuses.

“It was very hard to see who was working on what, and by the time it became big … it was already too late to get involved,” Greenstein said.

Spohler said LaunchQuad aims to include features for both the startups and the students. He and Greenstein are currently building connections with venture capitalists to allow the website to be a space in which startups can present their companies to investors. Spohler said they hope to expand involvement to allow startups to do the same with legal agencies and the press, although this aspect of LaunchQuad is still in development.

“Our goal is community building,” said Ben Strick, a Weinberg junior and new member of the LaunchQuad team.

Spohler also said LaunchQuad welcomes startups in any stage of development, including those in the idea stage.

“Anybody can submit,” Greenstein said. “You just need a short tagline, your name, a website URL if you have one and a longer description.”

Spohler and Greenstein plan to expand LaunchQuad in the future with the help of friends at other universities, spreading across the northeast before moving west.

“We plan to up our user base here at Northwestern first and foremost,” Spohler said. “We want to perfect it at Northwestern, and then we plan to expand.”

Spohler and Greenstein said the testing at Penn went well, with LaunchQuad acquiring several hundred users and over 50 companies. During this testing, several minor issues with the website were also resolved.

“The Northwestern student body is really diverse, really smart, and I’m just really excited to see what they can do on this platform,” Spohler said. “To see people come together and really create great things.”

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