Author’s Blurb: When I was in uni, my social circle was limited to those that I shared a group assignment with. Those people grew up to become my best friends and I don’t regret it, but I definitely wish there was a way I could’ve met more students to network with during my time on campus.
It was at a family reunion a few years ago when Hubert Lee first made a surprising discovery.
When he asked his younger relatives to add him on Facebook, they all collectively responded with “Nobody uses Facebook anymore! It’s useless, ugly, and for old people.”
Number one, ouch. Number two, I happen to enjoy the constant spam of goofy videos and baby boomer memes from my aunties and uncles. What’s so wrong with that?
Hubert however, doesn’t share my sentiments, and it was then and there that he was struck by an opportunity.
“I immediately realised this opens up an opportunity for someone to reinvent the way socials should be for the millennial generation, and we decided to become that someone,” he said.
Fast forward to a couple of years down the road, and Hubert officially founded Quadby—a social media platform dedicated solely to college and university students across the country.
College Life In An App
Before they launched, Hubert had done his own market research to find out how else to add value to such a platform.
“We talked to 250 students, and we found out that students face difficulties reaching out to their own college communities,” Hubert told us.
These included not knowing who to reach out to, and difficulties in finding likeminded people.
With this in mind, he started Quadby (previously known as 8Campus) as an inclusive, creative platform that would encourage more students to network online.
Naturally, I had questions for Hubert. What was so wrong about Facebook, Twitter and other socials? Weren’t most college students already aggregated there in the first place?
And more importantly—why would they want to switch to Quadby?
According to Hubert, there’s no doubt that these ‘OGs’ have already set the expectations on what socials should look like (including news feeds, walls, postings, etc.).
However, a lot of what Quadby does is focused towards creating a more ‘millennial-first’ concept where students can find and strike up a conversation with anyone from their university, or even another campus.
It also includes certain gamification elements such as a contribution point system, in-app rewards, badges, stickers, and more, all of which are meant to foster a more active community.
“Peer-to-peer support is essential in college survival, and we want to encourage this behaviour,” Hubert continued.
Of course, the concept of uni students networking with each other isn’t a new one.
UniChat is another platform that wants to incite more student-to-student interaction, through a similar Tinder-like interface that matches you to students in your area.
It’s also a place to hunt for good student discount deals.
A Platform For Personal Development
But the team behind Quadby is ambitious. They don’t want it to be just any other app.
It’s persistent on making huge waves in all forms of uni life, starting with making sure that college students are supported with the proper resources and soft skills it would take for them to truly excel in pursuing their tertiary education.
“That’s why we constantly organise learning events that bring students from various backgrounds together, as well as events that focus on personal development,” said Hubert.
At the moment, Hubert and the rest of Quadby’s team has already given talks to about 10,000 students across the country.
Before investors pumped money into them, Hubert and his team bootstrapped to make it work.
Right now, they’re only just exploring monetisation through value based ads.
“Our team operates in secrecy,” Hubert told us when we asked for examples of what they’re going to roll out next.
“However, we always explore the development of experimental features that encourage growth, test it out with a private group of 200 testers and then measure the success of every feature.”
What he can tell us about the future of Quadby is that they’re still undergoing rebranding and app updates that will affect elements such as the design, experience and functionality based on ongoing user feedback.
At the moment of writing, Quadby has around 12,000 registered users, and they’re expecting that to triple after the iOS version is launched.
Hubert also plans to expand throughout SEA.
“Our aim in 3 years is to enter neighbouring countries including the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar and Vietnam to dominate the market at a rapid pace.”
Bottom Line: If I’d known of Quadby back when I was in uni, I would have been super stoked to give it a try. It would have been useful during the times when I would’ve killed to talk to a senior about how to finish a stressful assignment, or even when I was trying so hard to get proper respondents for my Google Forms research surveys.
- You can read more about other Malaysian startups we’ve written about here.
Featured Image Credit: Quadby