IVCC Student, Alumni Create New Website

Miriam Hoffman, IV Leader Assistant Editor

Thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of IVCC student Matt Smoron and his partners, IVCC alum Nick and Chris Moshage, the lifespan of a college student’s research paper is no longer limited to the due date.

Agorado, a new website developed by the three entrepreneurs, gives college students a platform to submit their own research papers on any topic with the dual incentive of both positive peer engagement and scholarship opportunities.

Instead of working hard for a class paper only to have it forgotten after being graded, Agorado lets student research live on.

Co-founder Chris Moshage shared that, as a student, he was discontent with the typical cycle of writing a paper, turning it in, and that being the end of it. Matt and Nick agreed.

Instead of looking at this problem as an obstacle, the three co-founders saw this as an opportunity. So, they created a site to, in Nick’s words, “empower the work that [students] have already done.”

“It was exactly what I was looking for,” Matt said, relating his thoughts at the time Chris came to him with the idea for the site.

After a student submits their work to the site, peers can react in the comment thread. This peer interaction drives one of the two current scholarship opportunities provided by Agorado; the other is simply based on content.

IVCC economics instructor David Barnes raved about the initiative shown by Matt, who is one of his students. “It’s hard not to think of it taking off,” Barnes said of Agorado.

Barnes believes that students often feel like they are in a sort of vacuum, since they usually don’t have the opportunity to share and learn from each other’s work; Agorado opens the door to a wealth of peer feedback and perspective.

Barnes isn’t the only professor thrilled with the work of the Moshage brothers and Smoron.

“I didn’t expect that professors would love it as much as they did,” Matt said of professors from both IVCC and Bradley University, where the site has also quickly become popular. “[There was] such great feedback from the professors we spoke to, so quickly.”

Keeping this feedback in mind, the three entrepreneurs are not slowing down.

“[Our] next big task is generating those users and content on the site to the point where the inherent value of it becomes clear,” Chris explained when asked about their goals.

They hope to increase the number of individuals who submit and interact with papers on Agorado.

They have applied to an incubator in California that would propel them forward as they seek to scale up the website. Regardless of the future steps, all three are proud of where they have come so far.

“A really cool moment was when we actually formally created the company… that gave it a stamp of ‘this exists now, we are doing this,’” Chris said, describing the early stages. His partners nodded, adding that their love for working together and constantly improving the business is their favorite part.

The type of initiative shown by the creators of Agorado is, according to Barnes, the perfect example of the can-do attitude of IVCC students across the board.

“IVCC students are incredible,” Barnes said. “They all have this soft-spoken, strong potential about them. They’re really, really good kids.”

Matt, Nick, and Chris just want to add value to students’ hard work.

In one final thought, Chris shared the ultimate vision for their site.

“Agorado gives your work a second life beyond the grade it received in the course; as long as someone gets the chance to read it, it has value.”

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