“Do you know what the common point between Facebook, Google, Blue Jeans and Twist music is?” was the question Charles Thou, co-founder and CEO of Studyka asked Jason Calacanis at the beginning of his pitch on the This Week in Startups Paris Meetup on Tuesday.
The answer is that all of the founders were younger than 24. Studyka believes that there are many bright minds in this age group that don’t get the chance to show their skills to top executives and that on the other hands companies could benefit a great deal from their feedback and ideas.
The team at Studyka have built a platform were big brands like Canal+, the equivalent to HBO in the US, can post challenges. Students who are interested in working on those challenges can form teams and work together on solutions. Those student teams are formed from around the globe and from a variety of degree programs.
For companies this is a great way to crowdsource ideas and get first hand feedback from an important target group. If you take a look at the winners of the Canal+ challenge you will notice the really high quality not only of the ideas but also of the presentations. This clearly shows that Gen-Y when challenged by the right incentives is far better and creative than its reputation for being lazy and uninspired.
As return for their work students win prizes but probably even more importantly, they get the chance to present their ideas to the top management of major companies and have the chance of getting job or internship offers. Charles also mentioned a successful team that met via the platform and is now working together to launch their own start-up.
Last but not least, Studyka itself is a great example of a team of young founders who managed to build a great start-up based on the mindset of a generation that grew up with the Internet and wants to prove themselves early on.