High school students applying for college are finding more and more that extra-curricular activities within the walls of the high school they’re attending are no longer adequate when it comes to moving your college application up the chain. Sure class president, yearbook, and maybe a high school Habitat for Humanity project are great, but more and more high school students are gravitating towards extracurriculars outside of the school.
These extra-curricular activities can include anything from unique volunteer opportunities to internships in a career field that the student wants to study. There are a broad range of extra-curricular activities for high school students out there, but until now Google was the easiest way to find them.
A new startup called Exceleratr, based in New York, has designed a platform to link high school students to extra-curricular activities that make a difference in both their lives and their college applications. Ezra Mosseri, one of the co-founders of Exceleratr warns though, if you’re a high school senior this year, it could be too late.
The Exceleratr platform is aimed at high school students of any age and of course the earlier you start racking up your extra-curricular resume the better.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional high school internship, an academic program, or a non academic program, Exceleratr covers all the bases.
With Exceleratr students can create profiles, and manage their extra-curricular applications the same way you might if you were looking for an actual job. Of course there are a lot of job platforms out there. There are also a fair amount of startups out there catering to college students looking for internships, however Exceleratr is the first platform designed specifically for high school students looking to add to their pre-college resume.
We got a chance to talk to Mosseri. Check out our interview below:
What is Exceleratr?Exceleratr.com is a website designed to bridge the gap between motivated high school students and extra-curricular opportunities. As competition in the college admissions process gets stiffer, students are looking to better themselves in areas beyond the HS classroom. Until now, there hasn’t been a forum for these students to find opportunities such as internships, college academic programming, and/or non-academic programming.Exceleratr is here to help. “Because what you do in the classroom is no longer enough.”Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?Sam Haddad and Ezra Mosseri are the founding partners of Advanced Internet Options, the parent company of exceleratr.com. They have been working together as COO and CEO on exceleratr since February 2012. Currently, Sam and Ezra are in their sophomore year at New York University.Sam Haddad has been around technology for quite some time. As a high school student, Sam was the go-to for everything technical, even managing his High School’s website. Since then, Sam has worked with fashion companies such as Beverly Hills Polo Club and the Nat Nast Company, as well as with marketing company ADRail USA.Ezra Mosseri’s background is in business and entrepreneurship. He has worked in almost all facets of business including marketing, as Director of Marketing of an online radio station, sales, as National Sales executive for food company, Mor Fun Foods, as well as finance, as an assistant at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.Having been surrounded by business and technology for such a long time, Haddad and Mosseri have decided to take their knowledge, creativity and hard work to their own venture.Where are you based?Exceleratr.com is based in New York, NY.What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?Start-up-y. That’s how we’d explain it. We love the culture here in “silicon alley”. Working with and around other start-ups that are going through a very similar process has been a great experience. We are excited to be a part of the growing start-up community!How did you come up with the idea for Exceleratr?As seniors in the same high school, Haddad and Mosseri found themselves with far too much free time. Both spent lunches discussing what to do to occupy their time. After no luck finding anything productive to keep busy, they decided that there had to be a better way to find opportunities for high school students. Upon discovering no such forum, the two had decided to create one. That summer, they incorporated Advanced Internet Options, and in February exceleratr.com was born.What problem does Exceleratr solve?High schoolers need to venture beyond the HS classroom in order to not only strengthen their college applications and future resumés, but also to narrow down their fields of study to what they would ultimately like to pursue.Employers need young talent to help their firm grow in both the short and long terms.Program directors need a forum to reach motivated students.Exceleratr connects all these parties, making for mutually beneficial relationships, and an excelerated future for all.What’s your secret sauce?“Plush.”We believe in young talent. Loyalty is something thats important to us, and we think many companies share that same value.It’s something that is hard to come by these days and there is no better way to build loyalty than bringing in talent from a young age.Mark Plushnik, or “Plush” is our secret sauce. Not only is he an integral part of our engineering team, but he is, in essence, what exceleratr is all about for employers. Finding young talent and allowing them to develop within your company while helping grow it both short and long-term.What’s one dilemma you’ve encountered in the startup process?One big dilemma that we share with many other startups is generating traffic. We are only in the beginning stages of getting public attention, but we anticipate an intense uphill battle.What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?Our model requires us to be very low cost and and spend as little as possible. Like any startup, we do spend money, however we are very picky with where we spend it. We do not “cut corners” but we do what we can to keep our costs low– which definitely has its challenges. Finding real estate in manhattan is one of them. After searching for quite some time, we were able to find an appropriate space at an appropriate price.What’s next for Exceleratr?To bring as much traffic as possible. More students, more employers and more programs. We want to revolutionize the internship space for high school students. High school internships are demanding to become commonplace, and we’d like to help make that happen.Although we are still in the building process, and operating in our beta version, we are ready for and seeking the proper attention from all parties to help kickstart the high school extracurricular revolution!