Happy Birthday Zinch

3/16/11

We launched Zinch.com on March 12, 2007 — four years ago last Saturday. We attended (and had a booth) that same year in Austin at the NACAC National Conference — the biggest annual event in college admissions. That year in Austin was our big coming out event.

I’ll never forget what we heard there from the incumbent companies. Paraphrasing: “We see this every year. Startups come and make a big splash at NACAC, and then next year they’re nowhere to be seen. Deadpool. This will be your first and last NACAC. Good luck.”

I love doubters. Success is the most effective silencer. Below are a few highlights of where we stand today.

Bizness

The business continues to grow. We work with more than 900 colleges and universities — big schools, small schools, public, private, top tier schools like Yale, Stanford, and Princeton. We continue to provide immense value to our clients. Admissions and recruitment is going increasingly “social”; students have been yearning for a more humanized college admissions process. Zinch is at the forefront; we pioneered this category and we continue to blaze the path.

We have more than 3 million user profiles. We have a China-specific version of our website, Zinch.cn, along with a handful of other micro-sites that are rapidly growing. We have great partners. We’ve built a product platform that allows us to aggressively expand to other countries and more verticals within education (transfer recruitment, graduate school recruitment, etc).

Team

We now have offices in three locations (San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Beijing) and sales reps all over the world. People are the most important component to any enterprise. Zinch is only where it is today because of the amazing people who are on the team. Fun fact: Four Harvard Business School alum are on the team — including our CEO.

Media Love

We continue to get great media attention. We were recently highlighted in a White House Press Release. A wave of press will be coming soon with the launch of our new book, Getting In! The Zinch Guide to College Admissions & Financial Aid in the Digital Age. We’ve been on the NBC Today Show and ABC News. We’ve been in print media like the US News, New York Times, Boston Globe and Washington Examiner. We’ve been highlighted in education-specific publications like Inside Higher Ed and Chronicle of Higher Education. We’ve been in collegiate newspapers all over America like Yale Daily News, Daily Pennsylvanian, and The Phoenix. Zinch has a great story and a great product. This is just the beginning of Zinch in the media.

Winning

Early in the Zinch history, we cleaned up at business plan competitions. We won student competitions at BYU, Princeton and Utah. Bam bam bam. More recently we won a Webby Award, a Stoel Rives Innovation Award, and a uv50 award. We were also selected as a Red Herring Top 100 North American Tech Startup. Kinduva big deal. We have a great product and i’m sure we will continue to be recognized for it.

Cheerleaders

We have a team of great investors, advisors and mentors. A few weeks ago I wrote a popular yet controversial post about how I don’t like how certain investors treat their portfolio companies. We are fortunate that this is not a problem at Zinch. I really enjoy working with our investors/advisors. They are smart, thoughtful and extremely helpful. Our VC backer is New World Ventures, out of Chicago. Chris Girgenti and Adam Koopersmith have been a pleasure to work with. A few of our angel investors include Mike Levinthal, Chris Michel, Aydin Senkut, Rich Ferguson, Levi King, Josh James, Morgan Lynch, Tom Ngo and Larry Rosenberger among others. Our advisors have also been fantastic. They include Will Harbin, Stan Chudnovsky, and Aurelie Guerrieri. This paragraph is packed with some of the smartest people I know. We are lucky to have these folks involved.

Conclusion

There are no signs of this business slowing down. In fact, growth seems to be accelerating. Zinch is in a great position to become the next big juggernaut in education — with the likes of Washington Post Company or College Board. I’ve never been more optimistic about the company and its future. We have a great CEO at the helm along with a team full of talented people.

The thing I love most about Zinch is that we have lasting social impact — we’re helping students achieve their higher education goals as well as helping them pay for it. We’re doing good and doing well. We’re making a real difference in students’ lives — we hear stories every day.

It is so humbling and fulfilling to see how far this company has come. I couldn’t be more proud. I’m lucky and fortunate to have been even but a small part of it. I look forward to the many years ahead. This company is here to stay. You’ll be seeing us at many more NACACs. :)

Happy Birthday Zinch. You’re growing up.

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