Just searching through my data base of student entrepreneurs and came across CollegeProwler.com, a firm started 10 years ago when Californian Luke Skurman was a Junior at Carnegie Mellon and thought about the problem of choosing colleges when schools are dispersed geographically and guarded in their public communications. From PopCityMedia (circa 2007):
In the fall of 2000, when Skurman was a college junior, the seed for the College Prowler was planted when he enrolled in the Entrepreneurship Program at Carnegie Mellon Business School. In the business plans for the Prowler project, his professor advised him to develop solid revenue streams and not rely solely on advertising, thus avoiding the fate of the dot.coms which had gone belly-up in the 90s. For the project to become a successful business venture it couldn’t sustain itself solely as a free information source on the web. What the Prowler needed was value as a physical product that could stand on its own, supported by sponsors and mentors in the community to underwrite its expanding growth.
The result? Pittsburgh proved itself a veritable greenhouse for nurturing Skurman’s dream with support from Glen Meakem, founder of FreeMarkets, Inc., Gerry McGinnis from Respironics, Inc., Tom O’Brien, former CEO of PNC, and Tim O’Brien of Plextronics, Inc.
The support came in other ways, too, since The Prowler endeavor has largely been a team effort of former classmates and graduates of various universities around Pittsburgh and across Pennsylvania. Joey Rahimi from Manhattan heads up the online marketing and Omid Gohari from Potomac, Maryland oversees recruitment of writers for each school’s version of the guide.
“Four out of the five founders are not from Pittsburgh,” says Skurman, who now lives in Shadyside. “As recent graduates your inclination is to go back home…but we all shared Pittsburgh. So initially, it just made sense to be here. But after taking a step back what became really clear was that Pittsburgh was a great place.”