One of the biggest trade-offs students are facing in their academic career is going-out vs. going to the lecture. Some students want to join their friends for “just one drink” but somehow end up at Has at 6am and miss the lecture on the following day. On the other hand, there is also the ambitious student who comes to every class, takes notes and spends most of his time at university.
In the end, it doesn’t matter which type one is, as all students come to University to achieve the same outcome, namely, (hopefully) receive a degree at the end of their studies. In order to facilitate this process, StudyDrive has come up with a solution to make a students’ academic career easier.
What is StudyDrive?
StudyDrive is essentially a mediating platform created for students, which enables easy access to study materials. The platform allows students to upload their documents, as well as to access the work of their peers. Whether it is lecture notes, book summaries, past exams, everything can be uploaded and shared. The platform has similar features to Dropbox or WeTransfer, as it allows people to share documents in a fast and convenient way. However, it takes these features and adds a layer on top by organizing the study materials in a convenient way.
How does it work?
As a first step, a student is asked to sign up through either Facebook login or E-Mail address. Once this step is completed the student can select the University he or she is currently enrolled in. Next, the webpage allows the student to choose his area of study and exact program and starting year.
When the student has completed all of the previous steps he should be shown a list of all courses, which he is enrolled in. By clicking on one of the courses, he can access all the study materials and discussions related to this course, which have been uploaded by his (former) peers.
In order to ensure the quality of the uploaded work StudyDrive has created a governance mechanism in which peers assess each other’s work. Students can rate documents and communicate potential mistakes by commenting directly on the document.
However, the start-up has only been founded in April 2013 and heavily relies on network effects, which need to develop over time. This means that the more students join and actively participate the more students’ benefit from it. StudyDrive does not create any content itself. It only provides the structure of the website & app and server capacities for storing the content. This means that the list of courses, study materials, and reviews have to be created by the customers themselves (students).
What are the benefits of participating?
From the perspective of the lazy student missing lectures, the derived benefits are quite clear: Easy access to study materials. But how can StudyDrive motivate the well-organized and ambitious student to share his materials? In order to ensure this StudyDrive made use of an incentive governance mechanism (Blohm et al. 2018). StudyDrive hands out prizes in the form of credit points for students uploading documents, which can be exchanged for prices ranging from posters to iPads. Furthermore, there is a reputation system in place in which students receive karma points for reviewing the work of their peers to further motivate participants (StudyDrive 2018).
Where did StudyDrive originate and how does the company generate revenues?
Philipp Mackeprang, the founder, and CEO of StudyDrive developed the idea after sharing some documents with his former peers at the Maastricht University (Hahn 2014). Originally they used Dropbox to share their files, however, as they uploaded more and more files the site became confusing and difficult to manage. The founder, later on, decided to create his own platform.
One of the major difficulties he was facing was shaping the business model. He realized that students would not want to pay for such a site. However, through his time at University, he realized what great length companies go through to get in touch with students (Hahn 2014). He thus decided to approach potentially interested companies, and it was a success. StudyDrive managed to partner with around 400 companies such as KPMG, Roland Berger or EY. The partnering companies not only advertise themselves on the site but also use it as a recruitment platform by posting job openings or internship possibilities (StudyDrive 2018).
So far, the start-up has managed to offer their partners access to a base of more than 450.000 students, mainly located in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. However, StudyDrive is currently expanding to other European countries. The future is looking bright for the company, but how many more students and companies will StudyDrive manage to engage? Only time can tell.
Blohm, I., Zogaj, S., Bretschneider, U., & Leimeister, J. M. (2018). How to Manage Crowdsourcing Platforms Effectively?. California Management Review, 60(2), 122-149.
Hahn, U 2014, Interview with Philipp Mackeprang of StudyDrive, in, Talkin’Business online magazine, viewed 16 February 2018, <http://www.talkinbusiness.nl/2014/10/interview-with-philipp-mackeprang-of-studydrive-getting-from-entrepreneurial-idea-to-successful-business/>.
Get rewards for your study documents – Studydrive 2018, viewed 16 February 2018, <https://www.studydrive.net/rewards>.
StudyDrive 2018, viewed 16 February 2018, <https://www.studydrive.net/for-companies>.