Anyone who graduated from a university or college can be more involved with their alma mater with the platform Varsity Bridge. This will not only connect you with like-minded people from your school, but could also help you find your next job.
Varsity Bridge is a Cary-based SaaS platform that enables better alumni engagement in social and networking events for universities. Ken Hoes, CEO and Founder, has been involved in the Triangle Chapter for Virginia Tech alumni for over a decade and sits as the chapter’s current president. His goal with Varsity Bridge is to allow better communication within alumni networks and condense their interactions into one place, rather than across various social media platforms.
Varsity Bridge would coordinate the networking or social events for alumni in an area like the Triangle. This would help people get jobs through the alumni network, among other potential benefits for both the schools and its alumni.
According to Hoes, Varsity Bridge is a “platform that enables better engagement for universities” through their large networks of alumni. Universities will pay a monthly subscription to have their alumni use the platform.
Schools are trying to forge deeper relationships with their alumni by keeping them engaged via events. This will encourage them to donate more money to the school, he said. Universities are also looking to host more in-person events after the pandemic.
Varsity Bridge was selected to be a part of current cohort of the RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP). [Other startups participating in this summer’s RAP cohort recently featured by GrepBeat include OpenPlains and Bid the Beat.] Hoes is working on piloting the platform with Virginia Tech and networking with representatives at several schools during the program.
He got his degree in graphic design at Virginia Tech and worked as an engineering manager at Raleigh-based Red Hat, and later went into the software industry.
He said although universities can reach graduates through Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, there is no single way to target them. His goal is to have more “human-to-human” interactions between alumni rather than online interactions through email or social media.
Some events that Varsity Bridge would help organize are game-watching parties, tailgates, service events like volunteering at a food bank, happy hours, and more.
Universities struggle to reach their hundreds or thousands of alumni, and most lose touch with them after they graduate. Varsity Bridge is aiming to provide a connection that the universities need “to keep people engaged in better, more meaningful ways that they can’t really do by sending out mass emails.”
Varsity Bridge will help universities collect data about people who graduated, as well as provide people with opportunities to meet their fellow alumni. If a university has more data about who is attending these events, then alumni are much more likely to send their children to the school, Hoes said.