For those who chase innovation, many long to be world changers, earth shakers – those who solve insurmountable global issues. While this is admirable, the reality is that sometimes the most meaningful change can begin by solving challenges at a community level. Fabio Xie ’23 exemplifies this.
Fabio Xie ’23, studying Environment, Sustainability, and Policy and Political Science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, began his entrepreneurial journey by engineering a practical solution to a problem that he and friends faced on a daily basis.
A high-achieving student, Xie joined many clubs his freshman year to meet new people across campus and open himself intellectually. What he found though, was that the clubs were often disorganized, using many different apps and systems for communications and often losing attendees through ineffective structure. He discovered the same challenge when he entered college. Anyone who has ever had GroupMe, Slack, WhatsApp, and dozens of other messaging apps knows this frustration.
Xie’s answer was to create a universal app for college clubs to use for announcements, chatting, and creating a shared community space.
The app, C!ub, contains four main functions to help clubs run smoothly: chat, announcements, moments shared between members such as photographs, and a search ability or various clubs and groups across a campus. The app is designed to help students easily connect with campus groups and to help clubs communicate with and recruit new members.
The C!ub app is taking off rapidly. Just this past semester C!ub gained its first two groups at Syracuse University – the Entrepreneurship Club, a Whitman student organization that the Blackstone LaunchPad and Techstars collaborates with, and the newly formed CryptoCuse cryptocurrency and blockchain club which operates out of the LaunchPad.
C!ub’s impact is not confined to Syracuse. It has a team attending several different universities across the country and is currently in communication with numerous clubs across various campuses to get them on board.
The vision to transform college clubs for the better started locally in the Syracuse community, but is quickly growing to campuses across America.
Xie’s commitment to forming strong communities and designing systems to facilitate those communities stems from his diverse childhood experiences.
Xie grew up in Portugal, forming his first friendships in Portuguese, then moved to Shanghai in his primary school years. There he attended multiple international schools and moved around several different districts within the gigantic city where a move across town is synonymous with a move to an entirely different city.
“The experience that I got from Portugal to China and then moving around within Shanghai, made me more open to making friends who are different from me. The environment that forced me to adapt to new language systems also helped me form new friends.”
Xie referenced his background in his commitment to forming strong connections during college.
He met his C!ub teammates at his Shanghai high school. While they all attended multiple colleges across North America, COVID-19 sent them back home to Shanghai. Xie took this an opportunity to introduce his idea to those close childhood friends. Together, they formed a team with widespread geographic impact.
They hope to create a system that allows college students to continuously meet new people and form close relationships and communities.
His vision is to grow C!ub from a few campuses to a venture that can scale and create a transformation of the college experience. As envisions its eventual path, he says, “If I’m able to make this happen it could be a huge hit.”
By LaunchPad Global Fellow Claire Howard ’23; photo supplied