Startup Profile: OrcaTV

Social media has changed the way people communicate and consume information, and most people use a variety of different social apps for different aspects of their lives. In this constant stream of information some messages might get lost. This is especially true when the demographic starts shifting towards using new apps like Yik Yak on campus.

OrcaTV aims to cut through the noise and establish a unified channel for all information related to campus life and administration.

Introduce your startup and give a short description of what you are doing.

OrcaTV is a unique, curated channel of student and faculty submitted fliers, videos, and social media distributed to existing digital signage, cable TV, and websites that simplifies communications on college campuses and helps to inform and engage the university community. By bringing many different communication mediums to one place, OrcaTV creates a centralized platform that is accessible, interactive, and fun to use.

Who are the founders, how did you meet, what are your different roles in the startup.

OrcaTV team

OrcaTV was created by students for students to help make sharing information on campus as easy and fun as possible. As an undergraduate student, Rajiv Shenoy noticed screens around campus that nobody was using. So he partnered with the school to get student content on them and the platform quickly became a unique “Campus Life Channel”, a centralized place for students and faculty to distribute and consume information regarding events and announcements on campus.

Realizing that this was a great way to engage and inform students on college campuses, he started OrcaTV and found three individuals just as passionate as him about college and improving the undergraduate experience to help build the company. Joey Goldberg leads the Sales and Marketing team, Adam Podlisky manages Operations, and Michelle Greenblatt is the Director of Content.

What is the main problem in education that you aim to solve.

Content can be shared in more ways than ever, making it difficult to effectively deliver information and news to campus communities. We aim to engage and inform university communities by turning the complex web of communication on college campuses into a consolidated, centralized “Campus Life Channel”, a one-stop shop for all campus news and information. IT spends less time and money managing, converting, and delivering content to the university community and can focus more on enhancing the quality and efficacy of the content that is being disseminated. Students and faculty have access to one platform they can use to distribute and consume important campus information.

In which markets / regions are you active. What markets / regions are next.

We are currently exclusive to the higher education market and built our beta network across the Northeast. Now that we have launched The Campus Life Channel, we’re expanding across all regions in the US.

Who is your target audience.

Our target audience is college students and administrators who manage communication platforms. Our channel greatly benefits faculty and IT administrators by creating efficiencies around managing content and technology. For students, it’s a powerful on-campus communication platform that allows them to express their interests in fun ways.

How do you engage with your target audience. How do you convert them into users of your product.

Each university is extremely unique – and The Campus Life Channel has to showcase the campus culture. We have a robust marketing strategy that focuses on developing strong relationships with students and administrators, helping us to promote OrcaTV on-campus. We first hire student ambassadors who inform us as to what content students are interested in promoting on the platform, they present at registered student organization meetings, reach out to student leaders, distribute fliers, and much more. We participate in remote and on-campus product training, create custom promotional content, and facilitate focus groups. We also work closely with administrators to carry out unique campaigns they are interested in e.g. Twitter polls and Instagram contests. Once the university community is fully aware of OrcaTV, they are excited to contribute their content to the platform and naturally become users.

What is your business model. How much does your product / service cost.

OrcaTV provides software and content management services for an annual fee that alleviate many administrative burdens and streamline communications on campus. The cost of our product ranges significantly depending on the size and needs of each university. However, as a smaller company, we’re extremely flexible and able to accommodate the needs and budgets of all types and sizes of schools.

Who are your main competitors? What sets you apart from them?

At the moment, there are no main competitors who are providing the same service as us to universities.

If you raised funding, how much did you raise. Who are your investors. If not, are you planning to raise funding.

Bill Gray, a Senior Advisor to Blackstone and Former CEO of Ogilvy, NA made an angel investment in OrcaTV in 2012. Bill’s extensive experience has helped us to define the Orca brand while focusing on enriching the experience of its users.

Campus Televideo, the nation’s leading provider of satellite delivered cable television services to colleges and universities, invested in OrcaTV in 2014. This partnership has allowed us to grow our team while building out the infrastructure needed to continue providing quality service to our customers.

Are there milestones you are especially proud of and would like to share.

A great milestone for us was hiring our first student ambassador and launching our student ambassador program. As our eyes and ears on campus, they have been essential in keeping us in-touch with university culture and events which helps us to push engaging and relevant content across our platform.

What are the next steps in growing your startup.

The next step in growing our startup is staying focused on how we can engage students through our Campus Life Channel while reducing the management burden for administrators. We are showcasing our product at several conferences this year to make new connections while continuing to innovate and deliver a fun experience for all of our current campus partners.

Room for anything else you would like to add.

As recent college graduates, it doesn’t get more fun than being able to build and provide a product to students and universities that we would have loved as undergraduates. Watching OrcaTV become an invaluable resource on our campuses brings us so much satisfaction and motivates us to continue to grow and innovate around making college the best possible experience not just for students, but for faculty and administrators as well.

How can people get in touch with you.

They can email us at support@orcatv.com, call us at (267) 373-8952, or fill out our contact form at www.orcatv.com.

Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at KirstenWinkler.com.