Sometimes the best ideas are old ideas, especially those that still meet existing needs. One such needy audience are ingoing college students who have the extremely heavy financial burden of buying expensive college textbooks. Not only is it a strain on pockets during a poor economy, those who’ve gone through college will tell you how painful it can be to get book lists at the very last minute, find the right texts, and wait long lines at the campus book stores. Jonathan Simkin was one such recent college graduate, who thought that there must be a better way.
There was – because Simkin helped found it. San Diego-based SwoopThat.com is a site targeting college students that lists courses and the required textbooks for those courses in hundreds of colleges and universities across the United States. Using proprietary search technology that searches through courses offered by institutions, the site identifies and accumulates the books that a student would need on one site as well as the best deals from online merchants that would sell them. Their algorithms help students find the cheapest places to buy all their books collectively, rather than one at a time, and can save students a lot of time and up to 75-percent on new, used, rental and even digital textbooks.
“The time factor is what makes this technology unique,” says Jonathan Simkin, SwoopThat’s co-founder and CEO. “As a recent college graduate myself, I know several students who work side jobs to pay for their education. They can’t afford to spend hours bargain hunting for cheaper textbooks.” Prior to founding SwoopThat, Simkin worked at an asset management company where he helped create sophisticated tools for automatically generating client portfolio analytics – a skill which serves him well with the complex pricing algorithms involved in the patent-pending SwoopThat technology.
“Our goal is to increase price transparency for students through a time-efficient process – showing them every available option for their books, including free digital textbooks, and letting them decide where to go from there,” Simkin adds.