Twelve years ago, our company was founded by students at Carnegie Mellon University as part of a class project-turned-company. Our mission was to revolutionize the college search industry with a “by students, for students” approach. Back then, our founder and CEO, Luke Skurman, was determined to help students and families navigate one of the most expensive and important decisions anyone can make—where to go to college. So we launched College Prowler as a college guidebook publisher. The guidebooks were written by student authors from each campus and based on surveys, reviews, and opinions of current students on campus. They covered a wide range of topics important to prospective students—academics, housing, food, fun, and more—a whole book’s worth of insider information for each college. Within a few years, we were publishing 160-page guidebooks on hundreds of colleges across the country.
As we grew, our users requested more and more schools, greater insights, and tools to make sense of it all. We outgrew our guidebook beginnings and transitioned from a book publisher to a web company. We also expanded from covering just the “elite” colleges to covering every college in the country.
Over the years, we’ve refined our approach based on feedback from students and parents and added greater depth to our content offering. We’ve helped millions of people choose their colleges and have provided greater transparency to the industry. Now we’re expanding our model into new areas to help even more people make big decisions throughout their life. As part of our expansion beyond colleges, we’ve rebranded the company from College Prowler to Niche to better reflect our more holistic approach.
In May 2013, we launched Niche K12 to extend our model into K12 education. We now cover every school in the U.S., from kindergarten to college. We also just launched Niche Ink—our platform for helpful resource articles, Niche data dives, and deep insights into industry topics. In March 2014, we’ll launch Niche Local, bringing the same in-depth coverage to every city, town, township, and neighborhood.
Today we’re launching our new blog. Here you’ll find insight into our adventure as a rising web company. Our journey has been quite a story. Over the years, we’ve changed our model several times, moved offices, rebranded the company, changed our URL, and endured dozens of highs and lows endemic to running a startup company. Yet, 12 years later, our core mission remains the same—help people make important life decisions by providing in-depth insight from “insiders.” We’ve found our niche. Let us help you find yours.
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