ProfessorDibs.com, launched in April 2011 by Pitzer College alums Michael Goldberg PZ ’10 and Noah Taubman PZ ’10, is a website that provides students with deals customized exclusively for the Claremont Colleges. A service similar to popular deal-of-the-day websites like Groupon and Living Social, ProfessorDibs is a business venture geared towards encouraging students to connect to retailers in the Village as well as helping Claremont student life flourish.
After graduation, Goldberg worked various jobs for a year, with positions ranging from an internship at an art gallery to a marketing position with an LA-based musician. During his marketing stint, Goldberg conceived the idea for ProfessorDibs. He called upon his friend Taubman, who was working for Apple at the time, to join him in the venture.
As an alum of the Claremont Colleges, Goldberg knows the ropes. “After all, we’ve been there. We know how much students have to do on a daily basis,” Goldberg said. The insider’s perspective gives Goldberg and Taubman the advantage of knowing how and where students spend their free time, and thus helps them design offers that would appeal to students.
ProfessorDibs is still investigating the likes and dislikes of 5C students. Many of their earlier deals were experiments to find out students’ preferences. Past deals, which are referred to as ‘Dibs,’ have included discounted tickets for the Laemmle Theatre and coupons for frozen yogurt, cafés, restaurants, and various spa treatments. The founders, aware that they are catering to a large audience, are attempting to include a wide variety of vendors ranging from rock climbing to fine dining restaurants to spots to get late night munchies.
Goldberg took note that the students of the 5Cs and the retailers of Claremont are disconnected. Despite Claremont’s status as a college town, the Claremont Village is not student-oriented. “There are often many exciting things to do and places to eat off-campus that students just don’t know about,” Taubman said. The initial efforts of ProfessorDibs are geared towards making students familiar with off-campus recreational selections.
ProfessorDibs is more than a commercial venture for the duo. “ProfessorDibs was (created) to give back to the student groups, sports teams, and events that made the 5Cs the coolest community south of Baldy,” the founders said. The company puts away a portion of the proceeds from every sale of every coupon to help out student organizations in need of funds. They hope in the future to convert their business model into a fund-raising model in which ProfessorDibs can become a student-run organization that generates funds for the student community.
The founders intend to take up larger challenges gradually. When asked about introducing this model beyond the 5Cs, Goldberg was skeptical. “For now, we want to do as much as we can to learn about what Claremont College students want and need… At this point, we are concentrated on building something that will be positive and useful for the 5C community,” Goldberg said.
ProfessorDibs is off to a good start; long-term results will be apparent after the site has weathered a few semesters with the 5C students.