During University I started all sorts of side businesses.
Genius Hub was a site I launched with a friend to solve what we saw as an emerging need.
With the rising costs of a university education, young people were signing up for University courses without knowing barely anything about them.
This is especially true for international students, who can pay up to £20,000 a year in tuition fees alone, without having seen the university or anything.
We thought it would be good if university applicants could speak to students currently studying the course they were applying for, and ask questions about the interview, the course, and any general worries.
It was a great service, with great feedback from the students who used it. In many cases it turned their thoughts about their interviews from a prospective nightmare into a much less fearful experience.
As a business it didn’t set the world alight, but it was the kind of business I was really fond of at the time. It was a service business with very low set up and running costs, which could be massively automated. For instance, when an interview was booked on our website, a student on our database studying the relevant course could be automatically emailed to see whether they wanted the appointment.
With the recent announcement of fees up to £9,000 a year for home students we believe services like this will become even more useful in the future.
Here’s a screenshot of the website, which I built using Ruby on Rails.