"We don't want this to be a way for kids to cheat or anything like that," said University of Pennsylvania sophomore Adam Elkassas. "We want it to be more of a good study aid."
Elkassas is the co-founder of Noteriety — a marketplace for class notes that launched at Penn barely two weeks ago.
Since then, more than 500 students have signed up, and $800 has changed hands.
"We're planning on doing a pretty big finals marketing push, since it's kind of a high-demand period for notes," said Elkassas.
One of the company's tag lines: "Study less. Sleep more. Enjoy college."
How it works
Noteriety is the work of Elkassas and fellow Penn undergrad Arjun Jain. The website is currently limited to Penn students, who can request notes for a specific class and name a price they're willing to pay. Sellers can upload notes, taking home 80 percent of the sale price.
After two weeks, the notes go into a database that can be accessed by Noteriety users for a $5 monthly subscription. The website runs in real-time and is entirely anonymous.
"Everything's becoming social and whatnot," Elkassas said. "Why not make the process of studying a little bit more social?"
Elkassas says the whole thing's legit.
Noteriety is part of the PennApps accelerator, a program for student entrepreneurs that offers $1,000 in funding and eight weeks of mentorship. The company has met with Penn's Office of Student Conduct to ensure that all is aboveboard.
As for critics who say the startup encourages skipping class?
"I mean, it's perfectly possible for people to do that," said Elkassas. "But we look at it as more of a way to supplement your education.
"There really is no substitute for going to class, taking notes yourself," he added. "But say you don't get a good grasp on [the material] and you want some other person's perspective, or you just happen to miss a class here and there, you can get those notes easier."
The Noteriety team hopes to expand the service to other universities as early as next semester.
Depending on its big marketing push during finals this month, Elkassas said, the company hopes to raise some capital, as well.
"We might even think about being part-time students next semester if things go really well," he said.
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