Adam and John were housemates at Brown University in Providence, RI.
Adam, a History Concentrator with a passion for film, had been working on-campus in media services; responsible for recording various lectures and helping with IT in the class rooms. In his free time, he had been working fun student projects, such as this one.
John, an Applied Math Concentrator with a passion for longboards, had been traveling around to various hack-a-thons learning how to code. In his free time, John was busy learning poker and trading stocks... turns out he likes to take bets.
As house-mates and friends, John and Adam talked about helping students find opportunities around campus to collaborate with each other. They took a bet on each other and began building Pangeamart, a craigslist of sorts for college students to buy and sell things with each other. They hoped it would help bring students together in new ways.
In 2017, they graduated and got accepted to Brown’s summer venture accelerator, B-lab. It was at this point that they decided to pursue Pangea full-time. That fall we released the first version of Pangeamart:
v1 of Pangea
Unfortunately (and as is the case with many of these things) it didn’t work. We made a few changes in 2018 and relaunched in the fall semester without the “Goods” (our first attempt at focusing) and renamed as
We also rebuilt the entire product in React/React Native (the first version of Pangea was built in Swift).
v2 of Pangea
V2 worked a bit better, but we still weren’t seeing the traction we needed. We were in a tough spot... Do we continue going? We had no money and all our friends seemed to be advancing in their own careers.
But we had a feeling we were simply missing something, and they we hadn’t yet discovered what it was. So we started LISTENING TO OUR USERS!
Crazy to think that we weren’t listening to our users before. Sure we were talking to them, but it was more talking at them rather than listening.
We asked the 15 or so students who were actually using the product why they were. And we discovered a patten: Students wanted to advance themselves and their careers. They also wanted to “sell” to people who were not other students (so that they could actually make some money).
In 2019 we decided to pivot to being a freelance marketplace where the “clients” were not other students but rather Small Businesses and Startups who needed help with things such as marketing and design.
Since then, we’ve expanded to 750+ college campuses, helped students earn more than $450k on platform (with a few even growing into full-time employees with their clients), and raised $3mm in venture funding (with backing from Y Combinator, the same early investor as Airbnb, Reddit, and Doordash).