Have you ever been sitting in class wishing your notes could be as neat as your neighbors? Or maybe you are the neighbor with a talent for organizing information clearly. You could even need notes for one class and be a successful note-taker in another. Well, whichever role you play, Qwerty is the community and platform for you.
Qwerty tackles a problem the founders, Devansh Agarwal and Nikhil Saraf, faced during their undergraduate experience at the University of Virginia and Cornell University, respectively. As international students, they felt as though their peers had already developed cliques, making it difficult to approach other classmates about exchanging notes. The founders observed an obvious lack of exchange between students with quality note-taking skills and other students who would be willing to pay for those notes. Today, Qwerty is bridging this gap.
The founders of Qwerty have known each other for almost ten years. Since embarking on their venture, they haven’t seen each other in person, let alone met some of their own team members face-to-face. The two are currently working from India and making the sacrifices forced on by time zones; including waking up some mornings for 6 am meetings to reach their team members located in the United States.
Qwerty's team from across the globe meets on a Zoom call
Qwerty’s platform provides a solution for more than simply introverts and students in large, intimidating classes. When a student has to miss class due to sickness or job interviews, why should their education suffer? Additionally, Qwerty provides a solution for offices like UVA’s Student Disability Access Center. The center typically struggles to find note takers for classes and even when they do, there’s no quality guarantee on the notes.
Users who upload notes on to Qwerty can decide to post them for free or for a price. Surprisingly, 85% of the notes currently posted on the platform are listed as free. Qwerty encourages those who post their notes to first upload a set for free to gain trust and ratings from other users on the quality of their work. This has proved successful and led to more paid transactions for notes, study guides, and reading summaries.
The platform is also not limited to notes, it is a learning resource. Students can request other materials, expertise, or knowledge they may need. Qwerty hopes to supply connections between students seeking advice and those who have already been in their shoes. There is an immense amount of knowledge on college campuses, so why not facilitate additional learning?
“If Jefferson in our school (UVA) said, ‘learning never ends and you’re always a student,’ we want to cater to all those people who want to continue learning. We want to give them access to the people they want to speak to.” – Devansh Agarwal
Nikhil likes to compare Qwerty’s vision to the computer science world. The computer science field promotes shared learning; some top software is open source (available for anyone to see and use) and it’s common for programmers to share the solutions they discover online. Qwerty plans to foster this mindset and create a culture of shared learning where every student can do well in class.
Ultimately, Qwerty is developing a community; a way for students to find the resources they need through the integration of a marketplace. Notes are being written all the time and there’s no platform to share and profit from them. Qwerty launched back in March at UVA and has already acquired 274 users. As the fall arrives and more classes move online, a greater need arises for students to find community, connection, and educational support and that’s exactly what Qwerty can provide.
The founders say that Qwerty fully occupies their mental bandwidth, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. As their platform continues to evolve, Devansh and Nikhil are committed to spreading knowledge and growing an educational network.