US college tuition fees have been skyrocketing for the past decade and estimated student debt loans just exceeded over $1 trillion earlier this year. These signs are a cause of concern for higher education students but rest assured, Grantoo is on the case. Co-founded by Dimitri Sillam and Mikhael Naayem, Grantoo is a social gaming platform which enables college students with an “.edu” email address to compete against each other to win tuition grants and charity donations in brand-sponsored tournament games.
Launched in beta earlier this spring, Grantoo gave away over $30k worth of tuition grants and raised over $10k for charity with prominent institutions participating such as Yale, UC Berkeley and Stanford among many others.
It plans to further distribute over $100k in rewards this coming fall and Grantoo games are now available to play for free.
The value proposition of Grantoo is multi-fold. As students compete in game tournaments and successfully obtain their grants, they are obligated to donate between 10 and 100 percent of their winnings to a charity of their own choosing such as The Hunger Project and Engineers Without Borders, to name a few. Meanwhile, brands like Grooveshark and AVG who sponsor the tournaments are able to directly involve itself in financially assisting students as well as charity giving. It is a win-win situation for students, charities and sponsors.
Grantoo’s co- founders explains that brands have traditionally not been given much credit for donations directed to academic scholarships and other charitable causes. Thus, they hope that Grantoo would be able to provide the branding opportunities desired by companies while providing them the flexibility to customize the tournament interface to reflect their brand’s ethos.
Grantoo aims to do social good through its unique social gaming platform is exemplary for other aspirants to follow. Nevertheless, it does not discount the importance of having well-designed games to keep users engage. Without meaningful and engaging gaming experiences, the heart-warming social good means little. For the long run, the co-founders would hope to offer a greater variety of games with more focus on quiz and word games instead of luck based games. At the mean time, Grantoo will be releasing two new mobile games for the iOS and Android in November. There lies a long road ahead for Grantoo but given its recent announcement of raising $1.7M in seed-funding, it seems to be on the right path.
You can sign up for Grantoo here, which will be open to all US residents at some point in this season.