Four years ago, then-student Rashid Ajami launched Campus Society, an app-based community connecting the world’s students to collaborate, socialise, and solve problems. Now his business is one of the fastest-growing student communities online, and he says it all comes down to staying true to its mission in being a platform designed to globalise knowledge by removing borders between universities. Ajami speaks to GrowthBusiness on building and growing a student-centric business.
How did the idea for your business come about?
I grew up in London, then studied at Georgetown University. As a student, I found it difficult to easily find like-minded students beyond my own personal network. Realising many of my peers shared this frustration and that there was no existing product suited for students to connect, ask questions and share information, the idea for Campus Society was born.
How did you finance your business?
Initial funding came from family and friends to build an MVP and prove the concept. From here, I focussed on reaching out to the network of people I already knew to find a few angel investors who have experience in the technology sector. Between a group of angel investors, I have raised just over £4 million.
What’s the number one obstacle you’ve faced so far, and how did you overcome it?
The number one obstacle has been building a team and creating a single focus and vision across this team. Growing to a team of 26 and continually expanding is a challenge because it requires process and structure as well as a laser focused vision.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the next five years?
In five years, I see our platform as the largest student community in the world. I see the business as the largest player in education, global knowledge sharing and student networking.
Personally, I would still like to be focused on innovating and finding new ways to enhance education through technology. Virtual reality is an exciting one for example that I see as a space for Campus Society to move into in the next few years. We have already secretly begun!
I believe it is our ambition and the expectations we place on ourselves as a company (that makes us a top UK student start-up).
We’re ambitious and feel we have the technology and culture in place to make this company a unicorn, one that can take this industry to a new level.
As a product, I believe we have something that is simple but limitless in what it can be and this diversity and depth of product really allows a one stop shop for students to be created. Large communities, digital classrooms, virtual universities, small study groups, business to student communication and so much more is possible through our one feature: ‘the channel’.