As many stories do, with a D+ in thermodynamics. All right, maybe just this one. Penji cofounder Ben Holmquist looked around UC Davis for help but couldn’t find much. After a conversation with friends Ricardo Matsui and Ben Morrison, Penji was born as a way to connect students to successful peers on campus, a.k.a. “Uber for Tutors”.
3 years and 35,000 sessions later, Penji forged its first university partnership at CU Boulder. This was a lightbulb moment: in partnership with a college, we could focus on our specialty - software - and they could focus on theirs - providing excellent support.
Since then, Penji has dedicated itself to building an increasingly diverse software suite for colleges with the following values:
Most software in higher ed is built for administrators. Student-facing features are half-baked and not intuitive. Penji takes a different approach with a clean design and highly rated app.
What features and optimizations make a REAL difference in driving great experiences and higher graduation rates? This has led to expansions into advising, event management, and text-based, automated nudges.
We have met some great teams at our partner schools. You have a direct connection to the needs of students, and our job is to (1) collect feedback and problems from the Penji community, (2) distill that feedback into a clear product vision, and (3) build. It’s a fun partnership.
Higher education has many challenges to surmount, including declining enrollments and tuition price growth, but we continue to believe the experience of college is irreplaceable. Penji is excited to play a part in building a sustainable and successful future for today's colleges.
Penji is a penguin from the far reaches of the south arctic. Down there, it can get pretty cold, and on such days, Penguins like to huddle up and take care of each other. Penji has travelled all this way to teach us humans how to do the same.