CSE Alum and Entrepreneur Azarias Reda Delivers Best Pitch at SXSW
Meritful, a startup conceived by CSE alumnus and entrepreneur Azarias Reda (PhD CSE ’12), has placed first and won $100,000 in prizes in the new business pitch competition at the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas.
In his presentation, Azarias pitched Meritful, the college recruiting platform he has co-founded, which connects college students with potential future employers. Launched in the fall of 2012, Meritful is a network-building, professional development platform for students and companies. On Meritful, college students interact with professionals and alumni at companies that match up with their skills and interests through interactions that include projects and challenges.
Through Meritful, students build profiles to showcase their projects (research, engineering, etc) and get feedback from professionals in their field. Students are able to seek companies and projects of interest once they’ve joined Meritful.
Companies engage students through Meritful by creating challenges for the students to work on. This helps companies to connect with students while allowing students to find real projects of interest and to stand out. Companies also use Meritful to keep in touch and interact with students after events like career fairs and information sessions.
Before developing Meritful, Azarias worked as a data analyst and researcher for LinkedIn. His idea for Meritful took form when Azarias taught at a high school while earning his PhD. His original vision for Meritful was as a tool for connecting high school students with schools and mentorship opportunities, but the service has been refocused on college students to provide more valuable connections to companies, projects, and industry.
Meritful already has several companies using the platform to engage students, from recent startups like Twilio to large enterprises like Cengage.
Venturebeat: Meritful wants to be the LinkedIn of high school
The Michigan Daily: Meritful helps local high school students showcase talents online
AnnArbor.com: Starting from scratch: “Every startup has a runway … leading to a cliff”