Interview with Marco La Rocca and Andrea de Angelis, founders of StudentLINK
May 10, 2022
Interview with Marco La Rocca and Andrea de Angelis, founders of StudentLINK S.r.l., an innovative startup that offers services to support students in the university world.
The phase of life that distinguishes the University’s path can be extremely enriching and stimulating from various points of view. The person is confronted with a different, more independent and autonomous way of studying, sociality is more fluid and offers more opportunities to experiment, moreover the period of study can coincide with the first experience of cohabitation outside the family, in some cases even in places very far from the country of origin. All these steps can be lived with serenity and lightness, but being steps of personal growth can also give rise to difficulties. All these difficulties that you can overcome with StudentLINK!
StudentLINK is an innovative start-up created with the aim of accompanying, supporting and connecting university students throughout their academic career. In what way? Through the first university social network completely dedicated to meet the main needs and requirements that characterize the student, during his academic experience and not.
The platform offers useful services and functions to the student in order to speed up the integration process and have all the information they need, instantly, finding a real reference point. With StudentLINK you can then find an interactive and reliable community, through various features provided on a unique digital platform.
To know more about the project, we interviewed Marco La Rocca and Andrea de Angelis, founders of StudentLINK S.r.l.
Hi Marco and Andrea, it is a pleasure to meet you and thank you for your time. Tell us something more about StudentLINK. How and when was the idea of StudentLINK born?
After passing the winter session of the second year of engineering we realized that many of the difficulties we had faced had not only put us to the test but also many of our colleagues, some of whom had lagged behind, failing, for example, to find the right study group, or not integrating into university life. From that moment on, we talked about some ideas that we had had, individually perceiving different needs and needs, and we started to think about how we could solve them in a single solution. The turning point came when we realized, together with our friend and colleague Sofia Dall’Asen, to be a real point of reference for all students who perceive similar needs in relation to the various steps they take during their university career. The more than positive feedback of our colleagues, seeing in us, as people, this reference, led us to want to create the first platform that could encourage the creation of a real community of students, who support each other, in the university landscape.
How did you launch your company?
Thanks to the support offered by our university LIUC Carlo Cattaneo, who financed the Contamination Lab tutoring program through the partnership with the startup incubator ComoNExT, we have also succeeded thanks to the intermediation of our professor Andrea Urbinati, starting from what was a simple business idea to always accurately shape what would become in effect our project: StudentLINK. During this journey, the difficulties, given also by our inexperience, allowed us to change more and more the students’ vision alone to that of entrepreneurs. We connected with many people, expanding our network, with whom we had the opportunity to confront and grow. Among these we cannot fail to mention our mentor who from the beginning has supported and guided us in this growth: Francesco Carbone. A fundamental moment for the project took place with the entry of two other university colleagues Alessio Serreli and Francesco Manfra, who added value to the idea and who share our same ideals. With so much courage and desire to get involved, we founded the innovative startup StudentLINK S.r.l.
What are the services of the platform dedicated to all students?
We want to point out that our idea of application goes against the current trend because, for us at StudentLINK, technology acts as a support for social relationships that take place in the physical world and is therefore not intended as a replacement or alternative to it, but as a facilitator. Going more specifically, regarding the social network we designed, we wanted to include several features and services that went to support the student from his entry into university to entry into the world of work. Among these we find: sharing of teaching materials in a totally free; a message board content to highlight the initiatives proposed by the various associations present in the universities; interfaces that put in communication senior students with junior students in order to obtain tutoring and support in general; service for students away from home is that of Real Estate Network and Interactive map, through which the student and the tenant can meet their market needs in the same way; with a look at sustainability and the reduction of environmental impacts, we have designed the car pooling service; Finally, there will be a section dedicated to social and cultural events that StudentLINK will promote within the various universities.
StudentLINK also pays a lot of attention to universities, how does it?
For us, universities, with which we want to establish real partnerships, are fundamental both from a strategic and commercial point of view, as they represent the first carrier of dissemination of the platform to their students and an added value in terms of services offered. It’s crucial for us to put important focus on those universities, which, like us, are really interested in the needs of students, so that we can cooperate respecting as much as possible the company policies and the management of external platforms within the university. Thanks to the partnerships, universities will also be able to customize the service provided to the students of the university in two ways: first of all, we will guarantee aesthetic and graphic customization, through color palettes and official logos, that will make StudentLINK appear not only in line with the university, but a real extension of the same. The second type of customization, deeper, concerns the real customization of the features that will be made available to students.
Good question! At the moment there are still many steps to go. The current beta version will follow multiple updates and developments not only from a technical point of view but also commercial and distribution aspects. In terms of product, the application will have continuous updates and introduction of increasingly advanced technologies in order to be able to further improve the user experience and the fluidity with which the application is experienced. From a commercial point of view we are very ambitious: in addition to the continuous support of the diffusion in the Italian panorama, thanks to our Export Manager Alessio Serreli, we will also spread the application in other EU countries, starting with university partnerships and direct contact with students. The first country to follow this plan, with which we are laying solid foundations for future agreements, is currently the Netherlands.
Curiosity: how many and which partnerships have you created?
Since our recent birth as a company, we have obtained support from our university, consequently going to forge several partnerships with the various associations present within it, in order to make them emerge more and more. As already stated in the course of this interview, our goal is to create as many collaborations as possible with the various student groups whose mission is to improve the aspects that characterize the academic path of university and non-university students.