New CSUF grads start business to help students pass ‘bottleneck’ classes – Orange County Register

Some students are inspired by their favorite class. Recent Cal State Fullerton grad Brent Maxinoski was inspired by his least favorite.

In fact, he disliked accounting so much – and struggled with it – that he and classmate Cayman Elkin have founded a company so fellow students don’t find themselves in the same spot.

Their company, Wecademi, is extending the gig economy into the classroom with a platform that connects struggling students with tutors who have taken the same class, perhaps even from the same instructor, and excelled in it. They describe it as Airbnb for college tutoring.

In the process, they hope to help Cal State Fullerton students save a little money, succeed in their chosen major and graduate on time.

“I realized that peers themselves within a campus are a very underused resource for education,” said Maxinoski, the startup’s CEO.

That light bulb went on the night before an accounting exam.

“I just realized … I would much rather just pay some small or affordable amount to a peer who was either in the same class as me or had taken the same class as me, and done well in it, to help me understand the concepts and do well on the exam, rather than paying 75-80 bucks for a professional grad-degree-type tutor,” he said.

Brent Maxinoski, left, and Cayman Elkin show their website, Wecademi, inside the CSUF Startup Incubator in Placentia on Wednesday, Aug. 30. Wecademi is an online platform that connects students with tutors. (Photo by Kyusung Gong, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The two men, who both received their bachelor’s degrees in business/entrepreneurship in May, went through two semesters of a management class in which teams of students create a new venture one semester and launch it the next. Maxinoski’s team latched on to his concept and started building it into a company.

The resulting business plan took fourth place, out of 18 competitors, this spring in the CSUF Business Plan Competition at the Mihaylo College of Business & Economics’ Center for Entrepreneurship, and second place in the Titan Fast Pitch Competition in October.

The positive feedback made them realize there might be a market for their idea. The team interviewed students on campus and determined there was a need for the product. And professors saw it as a positive for education.

“Brent and Cayman’s venture is tackling a very tough problem that exists at most major universities: ‘bottleneck’ core requirement classes that have very high…

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