Noteboat has eyes on Aussie study market
For many startup companies, the first advice they receive is to go slowly and not take on too much too early.
That's not the case with Noteboat, a fledgling Dunedin company that is under a year old but already has designs on the Australian market.
After a whistlestop tour of New Zealand this week, company founder Chris Toma heads for Sydney in October to float Noteboat across the Tasman.
"In America, what happens is that certain colleges have one notes site and others have a different one, because they grab one of them first," Toma said. "By getting in to each one first, as soon as possible, we're hoping to get a foothold that will stick."
Noteboat collects student notes from tertiary courses and sells them online. People who supply course notes receive a small fee for each sale, meaning a good set of notes could be a passive earner for some years after passing a university paper.
Noteboat assesses each note submitted to the site to make sure it contains information relevant to each course. A 20 per cent preview of each note is visible online so potential buyers can assess if it is of use to them, and if they do buy it users are then able to rate and comment on each note.
Toma, a recent computer science graduate, had discovered similar sites to Noteboat overseas and decided the concept could work in New Zealand. He took his idea to Upstart, the Dunedin business incubator, which liked the concept, made an investment towards startup costs, and formally partnered Toma with business coach Rueben Skipper.
"It's important for this business to grab land now," Skipper said.
"We need to get across to Australia as quick as possible, as well as all the other New Zealand universities, so we can be the key provider of this service . . . We're hoping to get Australia by the middle of next year. We're touching down in October, almost as an initial test to see how it goes, and then do a big push across the country early next year."
In an era when university lectures can be webcast and are often available on audio or podcast, it turns out there is still plenty of demand for pen-and-paper jottings.
"A podcast, you have to listen to the whole thing," Toma said. "Notes, you can narrow it down to the finer points. Also, being written by students, they have made their own study guides to their courses and everything is completely tailored to the course specifically, all the essentials of what you need to know for exams and things like that."
Not that Noteboat was an alternative to studying and course work, more an aide memoire, he said. "It's not meant to be a substitute allowing you to skip class, it's meant to be an additional resource you can use. It's no different to going on Google and looking for something there."
Although in its infancy, Noteboat has more than 500 registered users and 100 sets of notes available online.
"Uptake and reception has been good, but it's more about getting people into the mindset of how it works," Toma said.
- © Fairfax NZ News