How’s being a startup founder for an after school job? A group of high school seniors at Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandra, VA launched their startup Hallway today. Hallway’s website allows students to post questions on various school subjects which their peers then answer. Students can then rate the most useful questions and answers, which rise to the top of the page. Students can also share notes and collaborate on assignments, and the website has built-in tools such as a personal calendar, class calendar, and assignments tabs. While there are several Q&A sites made specifically for college students (including startup Answer Underground), Hallway is one of the few that targets high school students.
Hallway was the brainchild of co-founder and CEO Sean McElrath. He came up with the idea after he created a Facebook group for students to talk about assignments in specific classes. One physics group’s membership rose to more than 300 students, and the success of these groups convinced McElrath that students learn best from collaborating in an online environment.
McElrath and his team, fellow Thomas Jefferson seniors Cyrus Malekpour, Michael Chan, Darren Bolduc, Dennis Lysenko, and Allison Chou worked at the Fort offices in D.C. over the summer, a space that is manned by Fortify.vc, who provided Hallway with their seed funding. According to VentureBeat, McElrath recruited his team of “hackers, hustlers, and designers” by starting an after school club, Invent Team, for students with business ideas. Invent Team provided the students the opportunity to connect with Thomas Jefferson alumni and future investors Evan Burfield and Jonathan Perrelli.
Now that school has started, McElrath and his team will have to balance their work at the startup with their busy class schedules. They plan to use task management software to complete assignments and go easy on the extracurriculars this semester so they don’t become overwhelmed.
“There’s probably not a single other company, or very few, that every day they get to be immersed in their target environment,” McElrath said in a recent Washington Post article. “Every day we get to talk to students and see how they’re using it.”