Lifie is an on-line platform were high school students crowdsource the education and career guidance they urgently need. Students' questions get routed to the appropriate adults in their extended social networks. Adults can help students in short bits of time, without big commitments. Students get knowledge they need to thrive in today's economy.
America is losing competitiveness because too many of our young poeple are not moving on to productive and properous careers. Most of them don't have the information they need to understand all their career pathways possibilities. Students are cut off from the world outside their schools.
Lifie is the only on-line platform dedicated to crowd-sourced guidance from adults to students. Lifie is a web- and mobile-based service where students can pose education and career questions that get routed to adults in their extended social network, who then answer the questions at their convenience. All communications are posted to the Lifie site, and stored in a searchable database of career and education pathways.
Lifie is a safe and fun for students. Students can explore and discover by watching conversations between other students and adults. Lifie is specifically designed for teenagers – it has intelligent quizzes and thought-provoking polls but not extensive reading. Students can try on different careers though their avatars and build their own “Lifie Crew” – a group of adults who will answer their questions first.
Lifie lets adults help on their own terms – no big commitment. Lifie pushes questions to adults where it works for them – email inbox, text, smartphone app, or on the web. Questions are routed according to what topics the adult chooses to participate in– alma maters, careers, programs like Peace Corps, Lifie’s simple, intuitive interface is navigable by amateur web users – Lifie makes volunteering accessible.
Ratna Amin, Founder and CEO
Ratna Amin is a proven public policy leader with a technical background and 15 years of experience in urban communities. Ratna's areas of expertise include education, community development, civic technology, sustainability and local politics. Ratna served as Chief of Staff to Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, Legislative Analyst to the Oakland City Council, Policy Director at Great Oakland Public Schools, and is currently consultant to the Oakland Workforce Investment Board. She previously worked as a programmer, GIS analyst and project manager at transportation and environmental consulting firms. She is an alumnus of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and taught middle school math through Teach for America. Ratna holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and Masters Degrees in City and Regional Planning and Transportation Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Varsha Clare, Product Advisor
Varsha Clare brings deep experience in tech product development and deployment to Lifie. She held positions of SP Services Board Executive Leader and Wireless Architect at Cisco Systems and Executive Director, Technology Development at Verizon Wireless, and Director, Technology Development at Vodafone and Airtouch Communications, and Director, Software Development at Ericsson Business Communications. Her areas of expertise include end user solutions & support, marketing support and product development & deployment. Varsha serves on the board of the Bay Area Red Cross and is an alumna of Leadership Pleasanton.
Kiran Jain, Legal Advisor
Kiran brings legal and on-line social entrepreneurship expertise to Lifie. Kiran serves as Business Development Consultant at LawPivot.org and serves on the Legal Advisory Board to Kiva.org. Kiran currently works as a Deputy City Attorney for the City of Oakland. Kiran holds a B.A. from Barnard College, a M.A. from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, and a Law Degree from Georgetown University.
Lindsey Ollman, Business Advisor
Lindsey serves as advisor at EPGY Stanford Online High School and also co-founded acclaimed hospicejourney.org. Previously, Lindsey asset managed commercial real estate for institutional real estate investment firms. Throughout her career, Lindsey has been an active volunteer tutor and mentor to students through organizations such as 826 Valencia in San Francisco and St. Aloysius School in New York. Lindsey holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dena Sneider, Content Advisor
Dena brings 20 years of career counseling expertise to Lifie as owner of the Bay Area Career Center. She is also experienced and knowledgeable about engineering, architecture, healthcare, multimedia and technical and trades careers. Dena has a breadth of experience of many career fields gained through her own work, research and clients in an array of fields: non-profits, international work, film industry, education- all levels including higher education, and law; the arts, including music and fine arts, the food and beverage industry from chefs to winery management; journalism, both print and on-line and all areas of design.
Lifie is a social enterprise. Once we have established proof of concept and user base, we will seek to be profitable through four product lines:
Consumer products for students and their families:
self-assessments,webinars, Lifie-brand guides, Lifie-affiliated experts.
Lifie will create a product for organizations such as College Track and College Summit that wish to create private guidance communities or wish to push content to students in specific high schools or cities. Lifie’s tools complement career sites such as LinkedIn, Monster and Careerbuilder.com and the $150 billion/year private sector job training industry.
Lifie’s product line will also include offerings to $18 billion/year public workforce development sector, which includes both national and local programs.
Global data products:
Lifie’s database will produce aggregate information about teens, jobs and education that will be valuable to marketers and a global student audience eager to break into the American education system and job market.
Market Opportunity and Size:
While there are 16 million high school students in the US, Lifie will start with teachers and guidance counselors who are eager to help students find their path but do not have the time or knowledge. Being part of the TFA network gives Lifie access to thousands of such teachers.
Usership would also grow through invitations and through notifications on social sites.
Lifie can grow globally, and beyond high school -- adults can now expect 6-8 careers in a lifetime. 60% of students won't finish an associates or bachelors degree by their mid-twenties - career guidance products for this population hardly exist. Lifie will grow to handle delicate but high-demand areas like health, relationships, and family.
Lifie's competitive advantages are design and our deep understanding of our users.
A patchwork of publicly and privately funded programs only reach a few students. Californians invest minimally in providing guidance to high school students - our current ratio of students to guidance counselor is 945 to 1. Solutions like Citizen Schools, College Summit and mentoring programs are difficult to scale. Only select families have resources to access private coaching services.
No on-line crowd-sourced education and career guidance exists. Lack of focus on student/adult interaction keep services like Quora or LinkedIn from becoming thriving platforms for regular adults with regular students. Student research shows they don’t use Facebook or MySpace for education and career exploration - only social exploration.