Hoya Hub, a student-designed website seeking to serve as a guide to Georgetown and Washington, D.C., will launch Nov. 4.
D.C. native Felipe Ernst (MSB ’14), the website’s creator, said he wants to use the site to share his knowledge of the city with other students.
“I realized the lack of information that students knew,” Ernst said. “The thing is that no one is from D.C., and you get to learn the ropes, but this website is going to be a source of information by students and for students.”
The site will be organized into nine sections, three of which — education, social and sports —will be included in the initial launch. The remaining six — housing, marketplace, news, food, services and health — will be added later.
Ernst is particularly excited about the education section, which he said will be an improved version of RateMyProfessors.com. It will include data and commentary about Georgetown professors that will be compiled at the end of each semester.
“You need a tutor? Go to our site. You need a teacher evaluation? Go to our site,” Ernst said.
While students will be able to use Hoya Hub for free with a valid Georgetown NetID, Ernst plans to gather revenue from promotional deals from partnerships with local businesses, including Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company on Wisconsin Avenue, as well as other bars and restaurants in the D.C. area.
Ernst said the site will promote these businesses, and in return, he will be able to cover his $10,000 startup costs.
Ernst and his brother Alejandro, a junior in high school, developed the idea for the website in January 2012. Hoya Hub has since expanded to include Vice President of Marketing Vincent Korth (MSB ’14), Head Editor Charles Rice (SFS ’14), Vice President of Operations Danny Lohrfink (MSB ’14), Vice President of Human Resources Brian Saslow (MSB ’15) and Chief Technology Officer Michael Perrenoud, a senior programmer analyst for GEICO.
According to Korth, the group initially sent surveys to students to gauge interest in the site. They then sought support from a board of advisers that includes Steven Gerbsman, chief executive officer of Gerbsman Partners, a consulting and investment banking group, Ricardo Ernst, a Georgetown operations and global logistics professor and former deputy dean of the McDonough School of Business, and Hossein Fateh, president and chief executive officer of DuPont Fabros Technology, Inc., a real estate trust and data center operator.
Ernst recently contacted Compass Partners, a group founded at Georgetown that helps college entrepreneurs get started on business ventures by offering grants and fellowships.
Despite the support for Hoya Hub, Ernst said that the launch has been a long time in the works.
“The hardest part of launching the website is the execution,” said Ernst. “You can get the people together, but the hardest part was to follow the deadline and stay motivated. There were times when I didn’t think it was going to work out.”
Overall, however, Ernst is optimistic about Hoya Hub’s future and hopes to introduce the site at other local universities.
“We really want to expose kids in Georgetown to these things in D.C., not just in Georgetown,” Ernst said.