Education technology startup Inigral has rebranded to Uversity, a name its customers will have far less trouble pronouncing.
Inigral was best known for its Schools app, which students use to create private communities on Facebook. But the executive team has increasingly been pushing for independence from the social network (Schools was originally a Facebook app), and the company recently released the app on iOS and Android.
Chief executive Jamie Glenn told me that a “rebrand” has been in the works for some time, as the company as seen “faster adoption and higher engagement” with its own mobile apps than on the Facebook platform.
Glenn believes that Uversity will prove valuable to high school students. In recent months, the company’s design team has heard feedback from students that they lack “real information” about universities.
“High school seniors felt that they could only access university marketing materials online, which is not authentic,” said Glenn.
To support these students, the company just released UChat. This new product helps high schoolers connect with current college freshman. If a senior wants to learn more about a biology program a university, Uversity can match them up with a current student who is majoring in that subject.
The goal is to help high school students make more informed decisions about colleges they apply to, and ultimately attend.
Uversity will target colleges with its new product, as IT teams can opt to install the Uchat widget on their website.
Glenn believes that the widget will be popular with colleges. Many state colleges and universities are budget-strapped and are eagerly looking for ways to recruit new students. Inigral will offer its university customers information about the types of students that are perusing their website, so they can effectively market to high schools.
The rebrand ensures that the company’s survival isn’t predicated on the Facebook platform, which has received heavy criticism from developers in recent years. Teens may even be getting tired of social networking, if recent press reports are to be believed.
Inigral is backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Founders Fund and Retro Venture Partners. It has raised just over $10 million in funding, since it was founded five years ago by a small group of hackers in Berkeley, Calif.
For more on the rebrand, watch the video below.