|Hi HN! I’m Justin Wenig, a co-founder of Coursedog (https://www.coursedog.com). We build enterprise resource-planning software for higher education, starting with schedule and curriculum planning. As of today, 40 universities such as Columbia and BYU use our platform to build their class schedule,
manage degree programs and publish the
catalog to students.|
My co-founder Nick Diao and I were CS majors at Columbia. We were motivated but mediocre students, skipping class and constantly
building sorta-used not-product-market-fit apps that never took off.
During our Junior year, we realized how difficult it was to register for the CS classes we wanted to take, and had the unspecific but weirdly prescient lightbulb moment that all university students have where they say "wow university software sucks".
We reached out to Columbia University's IT department and learned that most universities build their schedules with a combination of excel spreadsheets, manual horse/brain/caffeine-power and SQL reports to clean up inevitable errors. It seemed like an obvious opportunity to take a swing at a business.
We spent that summer working out of a sweaty lounge at Columbia, awkwardly cold-calling University Registrars and building a Vue/Node web app
to help universities optimize their class schedules. We utilized a mixed integer programming algorithm to optimize time and room assignments based on student + faculty preferences and space constraints, and reluctantly built a user interface for manual edits when university politics inevitably messed up our Moneyball-esque
optimization. And we had bugs. Luckily for us, compared to the existing on-prem solutions and excel spreadsheets that could make the most dedicated investment banker blush, 40+
universities tolerated us enough to buy our $150K+ multi-year contract solution within a year and a half.
Although we’re focused on schedule and curriculum planning for now, it turns out that all higher education administration software is sort of
very bad. Fun fact: There are 5 universities in the country on a cloud based enterprise resource planing solution. 5. As such, we feel pretty good about going down the line and rebuilding the whole thing from scratch: registration, advising, financials, all of it. That's the long-term vision. If you might want to work on something like that, please get in touch. We're hiring for the long
term, but also right now 30 schools call us at all hours of the night, we launched 4 products this year and will be launching another 4 next
year, and we could use engineers with brains that are more developed than ours.
Nick and I would like your feedback on all of the above, are happy to answer questions, and look forward to hearing about your experiences
and ideas to improve university software. Fire away HN!