31Projects is launching their online marketplace for student freelance projects and crowdsourcing competitions today.
The platform connects qualified students with employers searching for freelancers to work on individual or team projects and crowdsourcing-style competitions, in which the power of a large group is leveraged to complete special tasks as opposed to a select few.
The public beta will focus on business-related projects and will include a growing network of several hundred MBA and graduate students from universities across the U.S.
Students can apply classroom learning to tackle real-world problems and append valuable experience to their resumes, while organizations can tap into students’ fresh, innovative thinking without maxing out their budget on higher-priced talent.
Employers can also use the opportunity to ‘test drive’ students and vet them for future jobs.
“As CEO of a quickly growing startup I face challenges on many fronts, and 31Projects enables me to engage highly talented students in working on these challenges,” said Hajo Engelke, Founder & CEO of Custom Choice Cereal. “At the same time I get to try out potential recruits through a real, risk-free project.”
According to 31Projects CEO Jon Reifschneider, initial project sponsors on the platform represent a broad cross-section ranging from high-growth startups to large employers to nonprofits. “Especially among startups and SMEs, we have seen a need for the skills and energy which top students can bring to addressing business challenges, at a price that is much more affordable than engaging professional consultants. Connecting students and organizations through these interactions makes sense because it has an obvious benefit for both,” Reifschneider said.
The company plans to expand the platform to include undergraduate students and other disciplines in addition to business.