Flashnotes Helps Students Study–And Make Money



If you’re the smart kid in class, it’s time to stop doing everyone’s studying for free.

Flashnotes.com is a peer-to-peer marketplace for college notes and study guides. Students post their guides on the platform, and each sells for around $10.

Started by Mike Matousek during his senior year at Kent State, the company has grown quickly in the last few years.

In February they closed a $3.6 million Series A led by Stage 1 Ventures.

And, yes, you really can make money selling  your notes online. According to the leaderboard on the Flashnotes homepage, Tony2050 from Florida State has pulled in almost &12,000 so far. That’s better than your average part time job!

Check out our Q&A with Mike below:

1) What’s your startup called?

Flashnotes.com is a Boston-based startup that is becoming an influential leader in the higher ed tech space.

2) What’s your big idea and how does it work?

Flashnotes.com is the student-to-student study materials marketplace. The online platform allows college students to buy and sell course specific study materials — study guides,notes, flashcards, video tutorials, and live video help. My company is on a mission to provide college students with the two things they need most – more money & better grades. Our Pays2Study™ approach empowers smart college students to make money from their own study material, while helping other students study smarter to get better grades.

At Flashnotes.com,  we want to create an environment that allows college students to have access to the information they need to be successful in their courses. Currently, 42% of college students drop out and it’s often because they are falling behind. Flashnotes.com is on a mission to provide these students with the materials they need to get over that hump by serving content in a variety of forms.

3) What’s the story behind your idea?

I founded Flashnotes.com in 2010, when I was a senior at Kent State University. My idea for the company came when I was taking a statistics class that many of my classmates struggled with. The course came naturally to me, and it wasn’t long before students were hunting me down for my study guides and notes. Soon after, Flashnotes.com was born, and is now used by college students at universities and colleges across the country.

4) Who are the founders?

As mentioned previously, I founded Flashnotes.com while I was a senior at Kent State University.

5) Where are you located?

Flashnotes.com is located in Boston’s Faneuil Hall marketplace.

6) What’s the startup scene like there?

Boston’s innovation economy is thriving, and it really is a hub for technology startups and young entrepreneurs. In recent years, an entire Innovation District has emerged along the South Boston Waterfront, and with so many local colleges and universities, there’s no shortage of talent for the city’s burgeoning community of web and technology startups.

7) What milestones have you reached?

In the last year, Flashnotes.com has seen rapid adoption at colleges and universities across the country with a 175% growth in users. In the last two months we also raised $3.6 million in Series A venture funding and acquired Moolaguides, an online study materials marketplace with a strong user base in Florida.

8) What are your next milestones?

This year, Flashnotes.com is focused on expansion to additional colleges and universities across the U.S. We’re also looking to empower students with registered disabilities with our online marketplace and are actively looking to work with universities’ disability offices to offset program costs, increase note-taker retention throughout the semester, and enable these students to have access to critical course material. 

9) Where can people find out more?

To find out more information about Flashnotes.com, readers can visit our website at www.flashnotes.com, like us on Facebook,  or follow us on Twitter, @Flashnotes.

Uber Says F*ck You To Massachusetts Cease & Desist, For Now

Please before you fire off a hate mail telling us that Uber is based in San Francisco (The Valley) we know this already. Since Uber expanded outside of the Valley to “everywhere else” we’ve written about Uber on occasion. They are really great people, and each city office is a corporately owned office, they are actually run more like franchises. Their Washgton DC and New York office are really good to us (disclosure Uber likes what we’re doing on our road trip and supplies us with uber cards when we are in their cities. They care about the rest of “everywhere else” like we do)

Uber has been served with a cease and desist from the Division of Standards of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Division of Standards is using the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a vehicle to try and push their anti Uber agenda. Massachusetts contends that, because the National Institute of Standards and Technology doesn’t have guidelines in place for GPS location technology, Uber can’t legally operate in Boston.

Uber’s says in this blog post, that they’ve had their legal team go over this with a fine tooth comb and they feel that they are not in any kind of violation. As such they plan on continuing to operate in Boston, despite the Cease & Desist, as they have since October 2011.

The sedan hailing app service was recently under fire in Washington DC. On July 11th we reported that Washington DC area cabbies had solicited the help of Washington DC City Councilwoman Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3). Cheh has proposed legislation that would make the minimum fare for an Über ride $15 which is a five times higher than the minimum fare for a normal sanctioned district cab.

By the end of the day that had been squashed as locally based celebrities and even members of congress took to Twitter to defend Uber.

NBC’s Luke Russert took to Twitter to express his dismay:
“I’m willing to bet #DC cabbies after 12am will say, ‘cash only, no credit’ or claim that their credit machine ‘is broken.’” Russert tweeted earlier in the day.

He wasn’t alone, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) tweeted about the issue from his official Twitter handle @Jasoninthehouse, “Uber fans unite! D.C. Council wants to keep fares high. This is wrong! #UberDClove political website rollcall.com reported.

After that public outcry on Twitter Cheh removed the Uber portion of that Taxi bill.

For now Bostonians, fear not as Uber is still in service until the Division of Standards comes with a better argument.


Here’s Uber’s website

Here’s their blog post

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Boston Startups Get Ready TechCocktail Is Back July 17th

TechCocktail events are great. We recently attended the TechCocktail event that was part of TechWeek in Chicago. We also went to one of their speaker series events two months ago in Washington DC. Aside from Cameron and I getting locked on the first floor, it was fun times to be had by all.

TechCocktail is headed back to Boston Massachusetts on Tuesday July 17th for a fun filled evening of networking, startup pitches, and of course with a name like TechCocktail, libations.

If you’ve never been to a TechCocktail event it’s a great time to hear about the best new up and coming tech startups and mingle with other tech entrepreneurs.

Here are the details:

Tuesday July 17th 6:30pm-9:00pm

Microsoft New England Research & Development Center
One Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA

Get your ticket here


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5 Trending Angel List (Angel.co) Startups From Everywhere Else

Chances are if you read nibletz.com regularly, you are a startup, accelerator,incubator or angel from “everywhere else” just like us. So I’m sure you’ve probably noticed in your daily check to angel.co that all of the trending startups are almost always from Silicon Valley.

We’ve decided to highlight some of the trending startups from “everywhere else” that can be found on angel.co. So here’s our first list of five.

NetPlenish (Los Angeles)

NetPlenish is an innovative way to keep track of the things you regularly buy from the store, albeit razors, gatorade, coffee, socks, diapers etc. It hold all that information in a list for you in the cloud. NetPlenish then finds the best prices for everything on your list. This could be at K-Mart, WalMart, Target, Wahlgreen’s or which ever NetPlenish merchant partner has the best price.

Then, once a week you’re notified by NetPlenish either with a push notification or email, that they’ve done the research and found the best prices for the items you need. They get each item at the vendor with the best price and then voila in a few days your items are at your doorstep.

Talk about the king of convenience.

Find out more about NetPlenish here.


FormLabs, Boston 

FormLabs in Boston is hoping to make 3D printers actually attainable. Right now companies like Makerbot and others have 3D printers that they can sell to you but they are often thousands of dollars.

The FormLabs 3D printer is going to be low-cost and print in 3D right out of the box.

Co-Founders Maxim Lobovsky and David Cranor are hiring right now and we’re hoping for a roll out soon because I want to start making action figures in my basement.

Find out more about Formlabs here


Mile High Organics, Boulder 

We all know that Boulder has a thriving tech scene. In fact TechStars is based there and it’s like a little metropolis of all the next best ideas.

Mile High was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch section as the Nation’s First USDA -Certified Organic Online Grocer.

Mile High Organics is America’s First Certified Organic Online Grocer. Members order online and receive convenient, scheduled home or office delivery of local, organic, non-GMO (non-genetically modified) produce, dairy, meat, seafood, groceries; health, home and beauty products. We have over 500 SKUs and growing.

Mile High is backed by Dave McClure and 500 startups.

If you’re into organic food, now you can order from Mile High, get your every day supplies from NetPlenish and never have to leave the house again, where we know you’re incubating that next big startup.

More on Mile High, here


Hungerly, Columbus OH

Food trucks, food trucks, food trucks, I’ve been saying this since South By Southwest 2011, the food truck app space is heating up. Hungerly from Columbus Ohio is part of that new trend. But unlike other food truck apps, this app is for the vendor not the customer.

If you are a food truck vendor you’ve got a lot on your plate (no pun intended) you have to clean your truck to code, prepare all your food to code and then find a place to vend where you won’t get a ticket.

That’s where Hungerly comes in. Hungerly maintains a database of the best, approved locations for food trucks to set up and start vending. A food truck owner just logs in, looks for a spot and Hungerly has done all the work.

For more on Hungerly visit this link


Social Meter, Houston Texas

Social Meter is a unique way for people to get face time with important people by donating to their favorite charity. While some may cry afoul, this tactic actually works, I know this first hand.

During my radio and records career I was helping my little brothers band get noticed. They were actually really good for a young (teenage) rock band with their own material. A major label executive at Sony had said they liked what they heard but never had the time for us.

A bunch of googling later I found a charity that this executive was very involved with. We went to the Sony Tower on Madison Ave in New York and I sent up a $100 money order for the charity in an envelope with the executives name on it, we got the meeting.

Social Meter makes it much easier as they’ve already sourced the charities and the influencers have decided how much of a donation will get the donator a phone call, a meeting or a lunch. Ultimately it’s a win win for everyone after you get over the “pimp my charity” part.

It’s all about getting noticed and Social Meter helps you do that.

For more on Social Meter click here.



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We’re on a nationwide sneaker strapped strartup roadtrip and could use your help, please check this out

Check out the Angel List at angel.co

Boston Startup: Abroad101 Poised To Become The TripAdvisor For Studying Abroad

Here’s another great startup idea coming out of Boston Massachusetts, in fact it’s hard to believe that no one else has done anything like this. Abroad101 was actually founded in 2007. In 2010 they won $50,000 as part of the inaugural session of MassChallenge.

So what is Abroad101. The web based service is the brain child of childhood friends Mike Stone and Mark Lurie. They’ve developed a web tool that pulls data from participating colleges on programs to study abroad. There was obviously a need for students who study abroad to find the best programs that meet their educational needs. As Xconomy reports Stone and Lurie knew all too well the “archaic” process of sifting through folders and brochures to match study abroad programs.

Abroad101 allows users (students) to search their growing database of official school sanctioned programs for studying abroad. They can learn everything from course curriculum, to attractions in the city, safety information and find reviews from students who have been through the same program.  If this sounds a lot like TripAdvisor for students studying abroad that’s no coincidence, as executives from TripAdvisor are part of Abroad101’s advisory board.

More after the break
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New Start Up Will Let Developers Sell Their App (as in the business) E-Bay Style

When I first heard about Apptopia and the words “app” “sell” and “purchase” were in the same conversation I instantly thought we had another third party app store on our hands. No, that’s far from what Apptopia is.

This Boston based start up is headed by Jonathan Kay and Eli Sapir. Kay was the Ambassador of Buzz for Grasshopper, the phone service for startups. Sapir was the former Entrepreneur in Residence at GreatPoint Ventures. Sapir also founded GPush a Gmail notification iPhone app. It was GPush, and his difficulty selling the business which prompted Apptopia.

Apptopia is a marketplace, not for downloads, but for app developers to sell their businesses, not just licensing either, the whole shooting match. Betabeat characterized Apptopia as an exit strategy for unprepared developers.

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Sqoot Puts Foot In Mouth With Sexist Comment, Now Move On

We’re just 10 days away from what was looking like a great even in Boston, MA, the API Jam. The API Jam, a hackathon of sorts, was set for March 31st to April 1st. However, after what people are calling a grave mistake the event may not happen after all.

In an event flyer, the company hosting the event, NY based deals site Sqoot.com said that one of the perks or benefits for participating was the fact that “women” would get beer for the participants.

Women as a perk set off a firestorm of comments on Twitter calling the team behind Sqoot sexist, and scumbags.  According to tech.li Heroku, Cloudmine, Levelup and MongoHQ have all withdrawn their support of the event. LevelUp was supposed to provide credit’s for the food trucks.

We totally think that the line may have been in bad taste what I’m having a hard time grasping is the difference between that line and the scantily clad women at the LevelUp/Amex party at SXSW in support of the Jay Z event, which were of course there to serve beer.

More after the break
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