A startup called Groopt aims to make it easier for real-world groups to work together in a private, ad-free space — be it a club, a study group, a team of volunteers, or just a few roommates. And thanks to the launch of a redesigned site, as well as the new ability for any user to create additional groups for free, the company is hoping to expand beyond its initial customer base of fraternities and sororities.
There are plenty of other collaboration tools on the market, but most are focused on business teams. Groopt, on the other hand, is to a large extent trying to replace the email list. It can function as a lightweight communication tool for large groups (say, an alumni organization), while also offering features that could be useful for more active teams.
So there’s a general newsfeed for conversations, as well as shared calendars, document uploads, and WePay for payments. You can send messages to the whole group, subgroups, or individual group members, reducing the amount of message spam. And if you don’t want to keep logging in to the site itself, you can also get messages and alerts via email or mobile phone.
As I mentioned earlier, the product was initially designed for fraternities and sororities, a focus that was reflected in its original name, WebGreek. After all, not only do Greek organizations face the same communication challenges of any organization, they also want to keep members engaged (at both a local and national level) after they’ve graduated.
Even though Groopt is expanding beyond the Greek system, it’s still targeting those fraternities and sororities with its current marketing and sales efforts. After all, CEO Patrick Allen points out that the members of those organizations usually belong to other groups, too. And since Groopt allows you to set up new groups for free, Allen is hoping its current users will start using Groopt with people outside their fraternities and sororities, and the service will spread from there.
It’s easy for large organizations to get started, too, because they can just provide Groopt with a CSV file containing their membership list (which Allen emphasizes will be kept completely confidential and be used only for the initial invite), and every member will get an invitation to join their respective group or groups. Among the national Greek organizations that Groopt has already partnered with, Allen says that the sign-up rate is above 90 percent. In fact, he says Groopt already has more than 250,000 members, and has signed up organizations including Phi Gamma Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Tau Omega, Phi Kappa Psi, Alpha Sigma Phi, Theta Tau, and the University of California Irvine, which will be offering Groopt to all student organizations this fall.
You can sign up and create groups for free — Groopt charges for various premium services, mostly aimed at large organizations. For example, organizations can also use Groopt to create their public websites, which connect members to their Groopt groups on the backend.
Groopt is bootstrapped and profitable, and Allen says.