PeopleGrove: This Startup Connects Students With Alumni And Mentors

By Annie Baker ● May 15, 2019

PeopleGrove, a San Francisco-based startup founded by CTO Reilly Davis and CEO Adam Saven, is known for offering an online platform that connects students with alumni and mentors before, during, and after school.

And PeopleGrove is also known for providing the tangible support systems that are necessary for students to get the most from their educational experiences and investment.

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Through PeopleGrove, universities are essentially able to enable meaningful connections between students, alumni, mentors, instructors, peers, and staff.

Earlier this month, PeopleGrove announced it raised $4.7 million in a Series A round of funding led by Reach Capital. Bisk Ventures, Collaborative Fund, GSV Acceleration, Launch Capital, Riverpark Ventures, and University Ventures also participated in this round.

“Underlying our work is a deep-seated belief that all students, regardless of their background or experience, deserve access to the network and support necessary to find opportunities and ultimately achieve their goals — professionally and beyond,” said Saven in a statement. “Our goal is to take the invisible yet powerful social capital networks that are often available to only a select few, and make them open and accessible to all students.”

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When PeopleGrove originally launched in 2015, it had the support of Stanford University as a close development partner. And now PeopleGrove is partnered with more than 180 client institutions including large public universities (Kansas State University, Clemson University, and the University of Michigan) to smaller private institutions and liberal arts colleges (Cornell University, Wellesley College, and Williams College), and online universities (UMUC). Mentors on PeopleGrove have also volunteered over 50,000 hours of their time to support students.

“It’s vital for students to feel a sense of connection with Wellesley starting with the admissions process, across their entire academic experience, and beyond as they join our alumni ranks. PeopleGrove is our platform for creating community in all phases of a student’s journey, which ultimately helps drive their academic, personal, and professional success,” explained Wellesley College’s Director of Operations and Analytics Jen Pollard.

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With this funding round, PeopleGrove is going to increase its investment in product and engineering in order to drive further development of its offerings across the whole student lifecycle including enrollment, academic, career, and alumni success. Plus PeopleGrove is going to selectively expand its leadership team to support the growth of its business.

“The PeopleGrove platform is powerful because it taps into the deep affinity that both current students and alumni share for their University,” added Reach Capital general partner Jennifer Carolan. “The relationships that unfold on the platform between students and alumni have myriad benefits, from personal mentorship to career opportunities.”