Alums. launch online businesses
By Katie Gonzalez, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, September 29, 2009
In the midst of an economic downturn, some Dartmouth alumni have abandoned their corporate careers to pursue their own business ventures — offering pragmatic solutions to commonplace problems such as corporate recruiting and overpriced tickets to concerts and sporting events.
Jeff Iacono ’05 and Paul Rosania ’05 are the founders behind CollegeJobConnect, which seeks to provide an alternative to traditional means of corporate recruiting.
“We wanted to make a platform that gave students the ability to say, ‘This is me, these are my capabilities,’ and help them find a job,” Iacono said. “From our experiences as students here, that helped us think how the system worked. After we started working at different places, we saw the challenges from the employer’s side.”
Students who register for CollegeJobConnect’s services upload their resumes and wait to hear from employers who have partnered with the site. Students do not need to submit cover letters.
“We’re doing the work for you,” Rosania said. “We’re constantly pounding the pavement trying to find employers. All the work is happening as you’re doing all the things you’d be doing as you go through the normal process of finding a job.”
CollegeJobConnect has contracts with approximately 50 employers, ranging from “very small software design companies in New York City to medium-sized bioengineering companies to major investment banks,” Iacono said.
Employers are charged a commission only if they decide to hire someone found on the web site, while the service is free for students.
Iacono and Rosania initially introduced the web site in April, with little promotion.
The pair asked their acquaintances to submit resumes to the site, attracting approximately 75 users.
Iacono and Rosania said they plan to visit the College in the next few months.
“We’re waiting for Dartmouth students to get excited about this,” he said. “We’re open for business, but we’re not openly advertising. We want to roll this out at a measured pace to ensure we’re offering the best service for students.”
Rosania and Iacono said CollegeJobConnect will supplement, rather than replace, the work performed by college career centers.
“At most of the schools that we are looking at, the career service department is placing 40 to 50 percent of students in their jobs,” Rosania said. “It doesn’t mean career services is failing, but that is a significant chunk of students that have to find jobs on their own. Our service applies to not only the people who typically use career services, but basically anyone who is looking for a job.”
Russ D’Souza ’07 and Jack Groetzinger ’07 launched SeatGeek, a company that forecasts when concert and sports tickets are the least expensive, allowing consumers to buy at the lowest possible price.
SeatGeek was launched on Sept. 14 at TechCrunch50, the United States’ largest technology start-up event, Groetzinger said.
The system alerts potential buyers via e-mail when the optimal time to purchase a ticket from a secondary vendor approaches. SeatGeek has contractual agreements with the largest ticket distributors — eBay, StubHub, RazorGator, TicketsNow, TicketNetwork and TicketCity — and is completely free for consumers, D’Souza said.
“There are basically two different parts to the process,” Groetzinger said. “One is the data aggregation process. We pull in data from the Internet about factors that we know drives ticket sales. For each of those [factors], we know the effect it has on ticket price. We use the data we pull in to make a forecast.”
SeatGeek considers the weather, the actual price of the ticket, and the venue, among other factors. After the data is collected, econometrics is used to gauge when tickets will be available at the lowest price, he said.
D’Souza and Groetzinger aim to raise $1 million for their company from venture capital firms. Before SeatGeek launched at TechCrunch50, it was awarded a $25,000 grant from DreamIT Ventures, a company that supports innovators building their own companies.