A much smaller amount of funding is required to launch new online applications than was required a few years ago. That is spawning the start of new businesses to bring their ideas for an improved web community into the market. One example is Piazza, an online destination for college students.
The Piazza network connects classmates and instructors for exchange of information about schoolwork. Professors are able to create forums for each of their classes. Questions posed by students are answered by anyone else in the forum. Answers use a wiki type process. Consequently, a freely amended response is presented rather than streams of varied answers. Users can still interact in a discussion section. But, the idea is for members of the community to develop correct answers by acting in concert.
The value of this business model is reflected in the attention it has attracted from investors. Piazza recently announced that it has obtained $6,000,000 of new capital after raising $1,500,000 in mid-2011.
The key to success at Piazza is simply creating an engaging website. Students are spending an average of four hours per night on Piazza. Demonstrating that Piazza comprises an essential ingredient to study habits, about 20 percent of users access the site nightly.
The business start for Piazza was only one year ago and already the number of students and professors using the service has reached 100,000. Hundreds of colleges now use the platform.
Piazza has not yet developed a plan for establishing a revenue stream from its system. Instead, the present focus is expanding the number of users. Investor funding keeps that process moving forward. A potential income-generating concept is licensing the Piazza platform to universities. Another possibility is expanding into delivering teaching channels for various organizations. With 200 million people worldwide receiving some type of advanced education, opportunities for future profits certainly exist.