Today, PathSource is launching a Kickstarter to connect students and careers on mobile. PathSource is aimed at giving students direct access to information about professional opportunities that are available to them based on their skills, interests and background.
You may remember the company from last year when it launched a web application aimed at K-12 students along the same lines.
Adoption has been good, with PathSource licensing its original product to large districts across the country, including to the San Francisco Unified School District and the Chicago Public Schools. But in this process, founder Aaron Michel says that the product resonated best with older high school students. “We found that people in their late teens and early 20s have an even greater need for career guidance than do K-12 students.”
These insights fueled the company’s decision to bring the product to mobile and target a slightly older demographic. Given the indecisive nature of U.S. college students (half change their majors 2-3 times) and high unemployment rates for 16-24 year olds, it’s no surprise that recent grads are looking for a solution.
Similar to the web application, the mobile app starts with a short “lifestyle assessment survey,” which asks for preferences, what city or state would you like to live in, do you plan to own your home, rent, share with friends. The survey gets relatively granular, asking will you pay for your mobile phone, cable and other household items in addition to extra-curriculars like dining out, entertainment and travel.
PathSource’s backend quickly estimates your required salary to achieve this lifestyle. The program listed me at about $52K pre-tax to live in San Francisco which seems a bit low so there may be some need to hone this calculation.
But even taking the survey increased awareness of potential future costs, which is a good first step for college students (I know many adults who would benefit from this exercise, as well).
Once I completed the career survey, I was prompted to watch videos on careers that may suit me. I was directed to explore communications/PR, entrepreneur and business development, which are all positions I either currently hold or have previously held.
From there, PathSource enables you to navigate education options by major, cost and location that are in-line with your future goals. If you’re a college student, PathSource will connect you directly with job descriptions and applications in-app.
It appear’s PathSource’s previous K-12 success has been a good indication to higher educational institutions. Ahead of the mobile app launch, the company has already inked seven university subscribers, including Northeastern and the University of Hawaii.
For the time being, colleges are being offered free access to the iOS and web versions of the product as long as they ensure that a minimum percentage of students download the product. This is a bit of a twist on solving the distribution challenge faced by many companies in the education space.
PathSource hopes that by leveraging university networks, the app will reach the threshold where word of mouth takes hold. And it hopes student success will ultimately entice schools to bump up to the paid version, which includes gamification components, detailed reporting and student management tools.
The real revenue model here is a recommendation engine. PathSource can direct students to specific jobs or tools to aid in the process, hinting at potential for future sponsored job listings.
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