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Full-Service Enterprise: Jeff Weiss '09, MSA ’10
This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
Two Celtics-Knicks tickets. A babysitting gig in Weston. Room for three on a car ride to New York City. A call for pick-up basketball players at the Dana Center.
These were among recent postings on FullDorm, the web-based brainchild of Jeff Weiss '09, MSA ’10.
“Some schools just have a ride-share program. Some have campus forums. Some have classified listings,” says the alumnus, who researched the marketplace. “FullDorm has all of these features and more.”
The product made its Bentley debut in August, replacing a campus-based precursor known as Harry’s List. Pilot-launch features include classified advertisements, a ride-share program, off-campus housing listings, and a campus forum. Coming attractions include a “deal of the day,” in which businesses will offer one-day discounts to FullDorm subscribers, and a business-plan submission feature. Students would use the latter to upload business plans for review by local venture capitalists and investors.
The campus forum is a conduit for connecting with other members of the community or airing a complaint. Recent posts ranged from a student aiming to start a paintball team to someone seeking a salsa partner.
“The forum is private in the sense that only Bentley community members can view posts, but it’s not anonymous,” explains the native of Fairfield, Conn. “When you post something, your name is tagged to it, so people can see exactly who posted what, and when.”
One student who used FullDorm found his requested ride to Cape Cod – and more.
“The student who drove me to the Cape happened to be in my class, but I had never met him before,” says Adam Bessel ’12. “It was a very enjoyable experience and I made a friend at the same time.”
For Weiss – who handles the business side of FullDorm and employs three programmers to run the venture’s technical side – the next goal is rolling out the platform to local colleges and universities. He hopes to see the current user base of 6,000 expand to 60,000 by next fall.
Whatever heights FullDorm reaches, Weiss won’t forget where the venture started.
“It was a chance for Bentley and a chance for me,” he says. “Being on campus has allowed me to build credibility, a reputation, a user base, and content. If Bentley didn’t allow FullDorm the opportunity to run a pilot program, I’m not sure I’d be running the business today.”
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.