In 30 days, Julia Haber ’18 (Newhouse) has made a big pivot. As founder of award-winning student startup WAYV which creates pop-up immersive experiences on college campuses, she realized the environment had quickly changed. So did her business model. “In light of current world conditions, as internships and jobs were being rescinded, classes transitioned online, and social distancing created a lack of human connection, I knew that college students needed support now more than ever.” That’s why, after spending the last two years building a college focused experiential agency, she realized it was time to go digital, and conceived Home from College (HFC). She previewed it last month to the LaunchPad as a virtual guest speaker, coming full circle to the place where she got her start, and HFC officially launched on May 1.
HFC is a digital platform and community geared towards providing aspirational advice from business leaders and trendsetters across industries. It will cover topics specifically relevant to college students. Haber has already lined up dynamic speakers that include Head of U.S. Sales at Pinterest, Head of Creative Shop at Instagram, Founders of Bombas, and ThirdLove and many more.
Additionally, HFC will eventually offer mirco-internships as three-week projects with companies, weekly live office hours with leaders across industries, and The 2009 Club, a program that matches 2009 college graduates to mentor 2020 seniors who will be overcoming similar obstacles.
The HFC website is divided between two major areas: Content and Community. Access to content is free to community members, and will feature a video speaker series with industry leaders, providing inspiring and relatable content. Becoming a community member involves creating a profile that takes about 15 seconds on the website.
HFC’s Instagram account already has 1,200+ followers, and Haber has gathered a group of 80+ social media influencers and 560 students who have been diligently helping us craft our launch/promotional strategy. Many team members are college students who have found themselves Home From College, helping build a social platform that combines the best elements of LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook
“Though we didn’t initially see this as our plan, we are realizing that by building a digital-first brand we are able to reach students at scale,” says Haber. “The goal of HFC is to be the brand of the college market, not just during these challenging times but also in a post-COVID-19 world.”
The venture has already been featured in college publications.