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Amherst-based CampusLive gets angel funding to build start pages for 600 schools

Posted by Scott Kirsner  February 2, 2010 08:40 AM

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Putting the final touches on a $320,000 round of angel funding this week is CampusLive, a company run by a group of UMass/Amherst alums (and drop-outs) that creates lightly-customized homepages for students at about 150 colleges, and sells local advertising on them.

Co-founder and CEO Boris Revsin wouldn't name the angels, other than to say that they are "a group of four guys, all based in the Northeast." Revsin said attorneys at the law firm Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge helped make the introduction; CampusLive was recently chosen to participate in the law firm's "Helping Innovators Thrive" program, which offers free and discounted legal services to a group of five selected start-ups.

Founded in 2007, the Amherst company pulls together links, news, a Google interface, and weather forecasts onto a single page, and sells subscription-based advertising to local restaurants on it, ranging from $50 to $200 a month. Food ordering doesn't happen through the site, but restaurants receive reports on how many students interact with their menus on CampusLive. (The company plans to offer other kinds of advertising, too, and says that 63 percent of its users visit their CampusLive homepage more than 100 times a month.)

Revsin, who left UMass to work on the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, says the new funding will go towards building CampusLive's local sales teams. "We are selling in twenty markets now, and by the end of the year, I want to be selling in at least 150 markets," he says. Focusing on cities with multiple schools means CampusLive is planning to build portal pages for "at least 600 universities" this year, up from 150 currently.

One way the site builds traffic and excitement around the homepages is by running raffles for prizes like Sony Playstations, and by offering BestBuy and Target gift cards to students who  do the best job of spreading the word about CampusLive via e-mail, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.

(Revsin is in the middle of the front row in the photo; on his left is CTO Jared Stenquist and on his right is COO Ryan Durkin.)

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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