KahootsHQ: Connecting students for interdisciplinary collaboration

There is high value for students in experiential learning. This project discovery tool gives students more opportunity to participate in this type of co-curricular learning on and around campus. These projects help students learn how to work collaboratively with a variety of skill sets and disciplines while honing their newly developed skills in a real-world setting and building their resume or portfolio in the process. These opportunities in experiential learning increase student-led innovation on campus and better prepare students for the workplace. Kahoots connects students across faculties to allow multidisciplinary team building for co-curricular projects. It is an online platform where students from post secondary institutions can post their passion projects, ideas in innovation, and early-stage startups to recruit students from other faculties to help with their project.   Simply put, Kahoots solves the “Catch 22” for startups: you need funding to be able to hire a great team but you need a great team in order to get funding. We also solve the “Catch 22” for students: you need experience to get a job but you need a job to get experience. The platform promotes the connection of individuals in order to build their team, and it provides the opportunity to gain real world experience.

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Kaylie Greaves and Allison Rhodes are the two women behind KahootsHQ, who sought to improve team building and co-curricular education on college and universities campuses.  Allison describes their experience and arrival at the idea as “serendipitous.”  Allison comes from a business and graphics background, and loves the fact that working on KahootsHQ has given her the opportunity to utilize all of her skills and expertise.  Kaylie hopes to be able to work while travelling the world, and is passionate about social innovation, strongly believing in the mission of KahootsHQ.  The duo were both BCom students at Ryerson, majoring in Entrepreneurship.  During their fourth year, they were asked to start a business with tangible gains and revenue within eight months.  They witnessed the failure of ten teams, and realized that there was a common factor in all of these – business students with no hard skills.  Without an interdisciplinary dynamic in the groups, it was impossible to do necessary things like build a website, animate videos, or start a Kickstarter campaign.  On many campuses, it’s difficult to build cross-disciplinary connections.  As a result of this experience, Kaylie and Allison switched their project to what would become KahootsHQ (initially just Kahoots), to build a interdisciplinary collaborative platform at Ryerson.  This expanded when they realized that this was a common problem for universities after doing research to evaluate the situation on other campuses, and entered into Ryerson’s Slaight Communications Business Plan Competition. They won.

Ironically enough, the greatest difficulty was finding a developer for the Kahoots platform – essentially, the very sort of issue that Kahoots was designed to solve.  Kahoots target startups in the early stages of development, as well as university students looking to collaborate across disciplines.  The current focus of the Kahoots team is to expand to other universities beyond Ryerson, and colleges in the Toronto area seem to be particularly good candidates for this expansion.  Canada’s most innovative universities will be the most likely to adopt and utilize Kahoots, and those Canadian universities known for student-led innovation will be the first to be targeted for expansion.  There are a couple of similar platforms: York University’s Collide hub, which is a platform specific only to that campus, and CollabFinder, which is a similar platform for creative collaboration.  KahootsHQ does not have any direct competitors as such, with no other platform specifically targeting students.  As a result, it could very well become the primary platform for collaborators looking to build their project teams throughout North America.  KahootsHQ is an SAAS platform, accessible to the public at www.kahootshq.com, and is available 24/7.  The platform is intended to be sold to universities, to showcase their innovative projects all in one place, simultaneously allowing students to network with ease.  As a number of institutions are receiving budgets to solve networking and entrepreneurial challenges on campus, the KahootsHQ platform is quite timely – and beyond being ideal customers, such institutions would have the resources available to purchase and successfully implement the KahootsHQ software.

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