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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Carls create new app for student-alumni networking

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about a new startup on campus. However, for those who are unaware of Homi’s existence and what its founders aim to accomplish, read on.

Homi is a networking platform for college students. It fosters mentor-mentee relationships between undergraduates and alumni. The platform will paint a more comprehensive portrait of students than services such as LinkedIn by quantifying characteristics like intellectual curiosity and grit, according to Phil Xiao ’15 is the startup’s CEO.

Xiao works mostly on the business and sales aspects of the company, while Adam Canady ’16 is the CTO and focuses on the technology and product side. Both are co-founders.

After using networking to land an internship at Morgan Stanley Hong Kong and taking the fall term off to connect with alumni to help determine his career path, Xiao realized the power of personal, inter-generational relationships.

With encouragement from several advisors, he and Canady took Homi from idea to reality in early January.

“These are the opportunities that every Carl should have,” said Xiao. “Meeting new alumni, hearing their stories and asking them questions is how college kids like us really figure things out.”

Xiao and Canady have funded the company’s endeavors with internship earnings and entrepreneurial projects. The hard work they put into finding capital and building Homi – “80-90 hour weeks with school during winter term,” notes Xiao – has taken the team from Asia to Los Angeles and from San Francisco to New York.

With the Carleton Homi launch last Thursday, Xiao and Canady enter into a feedback phase, where they will aggregate what students and alumni like and dislike about the product.

The founders emphasize the dialogic nature of Homi – “Carleton is a place where we can talk to users, listen to feedback and tailor the product accordingly.”

Part of the idea behind Homi is based on the tendency of companies to recruit exclusively from target schools, like those of the Ivy League, Stanford, and top business and engineering schools. “There is a huge pool of untapped talent from non-target schools. We want to level the playing field so that everyone who deserves a job can have a shot at getting one.”

Xiao and Canady hope to get every US college to use Homi.

One major question that surfaces when considering Homi’s organization is, why would alumni help students launch their careers?

Xiao cites the amount of council he has received from alumni, saying, “Homi recognizes the desire that Carls have to help other Carls and gives them the opportunity to do just that.” The mentor role allows alumni to give back to Carleton in a way that supersedes signing a check, and finding and hiring students benefits alumni’s companies and employers in the long run.

The service is free and the new app can be accessed at Tell your homies about Homi and stay tuned for updates.


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