On episode four of STANDOUTS, an Only Co. Production, we chatted with Adam Metcalf, Founder of Zeemee: a start-up company focused on helping students make their transition from high school to college via a social, community-based app.
Check out the full episode here, and keep reading for a summary of our chat below:
Born and raised in upstate New York, Adam’s journey working in education began in his college years when he moved to Russia, where he also met his wife, who was originally from Wyoming. The two eventually moved back to Wyoming, where Adam continued his work as a teacher in Sheridan, WY.
After several years working in the education system, Adam knew he wanted to start something of his own while also being able to supply jobs for others. Using his entrepreneurial background and experience as a teacher, he created Zeemee — a start-up business whose intent is to connect students at universities around the country before they even apply or head out to college.
Adam and his team at Zeemee are passionate about taking digital relationships and turning them IRL (“into real life”). The problem they’ve set out to solve is even more present today than when they’d started, with social media being the main tool that students and kids use to communicate and connect. Even though we have more ways to connect with others than ever before, society as a whole is up against something called the loneliness epidemic, with 61% of students reporting that they feel lonely. Beyond combatting this issue, Adam also wanted Zeemee to impact education and students in a positive way, to help colleges mitigate any decline in enrollment from the application stage to the first day of classes.
Throughout their 8-year journey, they’ve faced many challenges, including building their app, generating revenue, and figuring out their positioning within the marketplace. Today, Zeemee partners with 160+ colleges to help new students meet friends, connect on shared interests, find roommates, and ultimately create a community for entry level students before they even step foot on campus — ultimately improving college’s enrollment rates.
Throughout Zeemee’s journey, and as a leader of the company, Adam has had to find ways to ensure that their company stood out. For Adam, Zeemee’s emphasis has always been on the product. Finding a niche, and building a product that niche finds functional yet fresh and cool (especially when marketing to Gen Z) has been vital to the success of their business. As the company evolves into the future, Adam would love to see Zeemee transform by pouring more deeply into their users, with initiatives like user conferences and a Zeemee champion program that would build brand loyalty.
As a final note, Adam stressed the importance of being differentiated through internal culture — something that employees all around the world are looking at more closely than ever before, which companies are often overlooking at the same time. The way we work is different than it was 20-50 years ago with technology constantly changing and improving. By focusing on a healthy work-life balance and strong workplace culture, Adam believes that intentional leaders will see their employees thrive, resulting in greater retention and further positive outcomes.
If you’ve read this far and had either of these two thoughts:
I’d love to share about my business with Josh on STANDOUTS
My company is not differentiated enough, and competitors are crowding out my once unique strategy