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New mobile start-up, EverTrue, aims to help colleges stay close to young alums

Posted by Scott Kirsner  June 25, 2010 08:34 AM

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evertrue.pngWho better than a recent business school grad to launch a new start-up that is creating mobile apps to help universities stay connected to their alumni?

Brent Grinna started working on EverTrue while at Harvard Business School; he graduated last month, and around the same time, the company launched its first app, Brown Alumni Connect.

Grinna says EverTrue is focused on building "young alumni engagement tools" that will deliver news, sports scores, video, and an event calendar to alums via their iPhones (and eventually, Android phones and BlackBerries, too.)

"When you move to a new city, you can update your contact information so friends can find you, and you can use the app to find other alumni in the area," he says. Grinna adds that schools often don't dedicate much energy to communicating with young alumni, who aren't likely to become big donors for a decade or two. That's exactly the demographic that Grinna expects will be attracted to EverTrue's apps. ("Mobile giving" will also be rendered easy, presumably in small amounts, for those note yet ready to have their name chiseled on a building.)

Grinna has been bootstrapping the company thus far, following the advice of Jeffrey Bussgang, an entrepreneur-in-residence at HBS and a partner at Flybridge Capital in Boston. "Our plan is to sign up some more schools, and then raise some funding," he says. In addition to Brown (Grinna's undergrad alma mater, where he was captain of the football team), he says the company is in discussions with other New England colleges and boarding schools. EverTrue has developed a prototype app for HBS, but the school hasn't yet signed a deal with EverTrue.

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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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