for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
at Davidson College

for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
at Davidson College

Christos Koumpotis and Tasos Pagounas Rise Together to Solve the Student and Recent Alumni Employment Problem

Christos Koumpotis and Tasos Pagounas Rise Together to Solve the Student and Recent Alumni Employment Problem

Meet Christos Koumpotis and Tasos Pagounas, the 2022 Nisbet Venture Fund Audience Choice Award winners. These two alumni turned a shared vision into a prize-winning venture, Rise Together. 

RiTo, as it is called, aims to solve a significant issue facing young adults and small businesses alike: the challenge of finding employment and talent, respectively.

As recent graduates themselves, Christos and Tasos know the struggle all too well. Many young adults find it hard to secure a job without prior experience, while small businesses often have difficulty competing with larger corporations to attract skilled workers. They saw an opportunity to address both problems simultaneously. Their solution? Rise Together, a platform that connects young people with the skills to small businesses in need of those skills.

Here’s how it works: Users create profiles highlighting their skills, expectations, and experiences, while small businesses list their needs and employment opportunities. The platform then matches businesses with individuals whose skills align with their needs. As you can imagine, this makes the job hunt and hiring process smoother for everyone involved – a true win-win.

But Christos and Tasos didn’t stop there. They recognized the biases—both conscious and unconscious—that plague the labor market. To combat this, Rise Together ensures employers only access demographic information about potential employees after a match is made and communication begins.

Their primary customers are students and recent graduates looking to kickstart their careers, as well as small businesses or startups seeking fresh talent. However, Rise Together’s potential reaches further. It appeals to career changers, individuals seeking more experience, and those affected by labor market inequalities. But wait, there’s more. They also envision partnering with universities to offer their service to students.

Rise Together is entering a competitive landscape. However, it stands out from the crowd of job search platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, Handshake, and RippleMatch. Instead of overwhelming users with countless irrelevant opportunities, Rise Together focuses on precise matches.

But, how do they plan to make money? Well, their business model is simple yet effective. Employers pay a matching fee when they choose to connect with a potential employee. By doing so, they gain access to their contact information and a built-in chat. There is also revenue that will come from long-term partnerships with institutions.

Stay tuned to see how Christos and Tasos continue to rise together.

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