Schola Journal

Schola: Origins

Schola club Incorporated was incorporated in the state of Texas in August of 2018. The company was made to facilitate the administration of its namesake mobile app, the Schola app. To tell a story such as this, it is often best to start at the very beginning. I had for a long time been fascinated by the idea of being an entrepreneur and creating a startup; encouraged and inspired by shows like Shark Tank and by successful, relatively simplistic mobile apps like “Flappy Bird” and “Candy Crush Saga”. I knew I wanted to build something but the idea behind what exactly I would build still eluded me.

In the summer of 2016, a few months after getting my bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, I saw a motivational video by Gary Vee that finally pushed me off the ledge. It was time to decide what I would build.  I assembled a team of four friends, myself included, to do some brainstorming and perhaps come up with a business idea that we could run with. We quickly did away with considerations of other business models and decided what we wanted to build would be an app and set our sights on building a gaming app particularly. In that three-hour session, we came up with three ideas for gaming apps, two of which I still remember, but neither of which we were particularly ecstatic about. As a result, I suggested a fourth option which at the time was a skeleton of what was to be a social network for students (I’m sure you see where I’m going with this by now) but we weren’t particularly excited about this one either because we felt the idea social networks was a bit played out. In the end, we opted to go for one the gaming app ideas which was a cooking game.

Our first idea was to try to improve our limited skills with computer programming and then build the app ourselves, but I quickly realized the naivety of that plan and opted to invite a more seasoned developer to join us and that would prove a pivotal decision. This developer also happened to be a friend we talked over the different ideas we had come up with while brainstorming. Much to my surprise, he seemed to think my social network idea held the most merit and would be the easiest to build, considering our limited manpower and resources. In what was an interesting plot twist, I began to see more promise in the idea and with every passing day, more and more layers of the picture became clearer to me, until what was initially a one-track skeleton of an idea took on a life of its own and became what we know today as “Schola”. I named it Schola after the latin word for school (corny, I know) but before that I considered Ludus and decided not to go with it because of copyright issues. Long story short, we forged ahead with the idea and as a result we find ourselves where we are today. In my next article, I’ll tell you why you should care about any of this at all.

“I named it Schola after the latin word for school (corny, I know) but before that I considered Ludus and decided not to go with it because of copyright issues.”

Why Schola?

Very often innovations, in any given field are a response to an almost palpable void left unfilled by the services currently available in the marketspace. The Schola app is no different in this regard. The idea behind Schola originated as a platform that would achieve two things primarily; function as a social network for college students, and allow students perform basic class management tasks such as keeping track of their class schedules and perhaps the correlating syllabi. Over time, the idea seemed to take on a life of its own, evolving continuously until it became necessary to rein it in so to speak. We catalogued the various proposed functions the app and boiled down our minimum viable product to three functions: Bond, Learn, and Earn. BLE (derived from Bond, Learn, Earn) became common parlance on the tongues of most of our team thereafter. But what do these monikers mean exactly?

Bond, like learn and earn represents an amalgamation of a number of functions/services provided by Schola to its users. The group of functions under bond include social networking capabilities geared towards college students such as communicating with classmates in classroom forums, private messaging with other users, use of a timeline, and so much more. Bond encompasses essentially everything a quintessential social network would feature but focused on the niche demographic of college students. How is this different from other social media platforms you ask? Two words: exclusive and tailored. Restricting the Schola user base to college students erases the possibility of older demographics encroaching on this space as has been the case with Myspace, Facebook, Instagram and many other social media. This maintains the culture and purity of the network as one truly tailored to the needs of adolescents.

Learn, my personal favorite, is dear to my heart as it was born of my own personal experience as an undergraduate student. As an incoming freshman, professors would bombard us with information about tutoring services on campus, the math clinic, physics clinic, etc. To be honest, I didn’t use them much in the beginning but as I progressed, I began to seek them out. I quickly discovered that these resources are great for freshman and sophomore level classes, but their usefulness begins to dwindle as one approaches junior level, until you’re virtually on your own for senior level classes. Out of this void came my idea to provide tutoring for students of all levels. The aim of “Learn” is to give students a platform to learn from other students on campus, and it transitions into “Earn” by giving the tutor-students an opportunity to earn money on campus.

“How is this different from other social media platforms you ask? Two words: exclusive and tailored”