Research has shown that on a weekly basis, seven out of 10 people admit to needing help but don’t ask for it. STRIVR, Inc. has an answer to that problem through its social media platform that focuses on giving and receiving help. STRIVR has located in Ben Franklin TechVentures®, an award-winning business incubator/post-incubator facility on Lehigh University’s campus in Bethlehem, PA. Ben Franklin TechVentures is owned and managed by the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
STRIVR is a free iPhone app that initially targets the 21 million-member college student market. College students typically have more needs, more independence, and fewer resources than other groups, rendering them a strong audience. With STRIVR, help doesn’t have to be “big;” in fact it is the small connections that are more frequent and are creating such strong communities within STRIVR. “Help” might include getting a ride from a friend, borrowing a charger or textbook in the library, or tutoring. STRIVR combines matchmaking principles with network effects to connect people while keeping the process fun, engaging, and user-driven.
STRIVR provides practical solutions to its users that result in personal and meaningful interactions, creating “social media with purpose” that resonates strongly among young adults. The underlying message of helping others, “paying it forward,” and “doing good” are powerful themes that are increasing adoption and engagement among STRIVR’s users and its growing community.
STRIVR’s concept is unique in that it has a platform focused exclusively on giving and receiving help. A request for tutoring assistance on Facebook would be buried among the plethora of posts and photos. Similarly, an appeal for a ride home on Twitter after a long night is lost among an abundance of tweets as well as constrained by a tight character limit. Some messaging options might make friends feel obligated and only engage a limited audience. Other apps and/or web site service providers such as Uber, Lyft, Task Rabbit, and Craigslist only offer help for hire, in which the service providers are unknown individuals, no true social aspect exists, and money is exchanged.
STRIVR has rolled out its technology on 20 campuses and plans a large national launch in 2016. The platform also has application in other markets such as non-profits, towns, and companies.
Ben Franklin TechVentures brings together entrepreneurs, Ben Franklin staff, and Lehigh faculty and students to accelerate the growth of the region’s technology economy. The Ben Franklin team supports TechVentures resident companies with management guidance, business planning, strategic planning, and marketing counsel; connections to angel investors and venture capitalists; and assistance in preparing and improving funding presentations. Ben Franklin shares its new Innovation Institute meeting, learning, and conference facilities space with resident companies, local corporate partners, and programs. Ben Franklin TechVentures provides an entrepreneurial culture that fuels innovation, accelerates the success of early-stage technology firms, and supports high-value job creation.