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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Students scanned Turlington Plaza for hidden cash as part of a ClusterFlunk event Thursday. 

The company hosted two events this week to promote its upcoming app release. 

ClusterFlunk, an online platform where students can connect with classmates and share notes, will soon launch its iPhone app. 

Students can sign up to ClusterFlunk using their university email address, add their classes to be connected to peers and have access to shared class materials. 

Aaron  Schwartz, a UF finance junior, is the campus manager for the academic social media platform.

Schwartz, 20, said ClusterFlunk is gaining speed at UF. 

Last week, the website gained 214 users, and membership at UF stands at 3,009.

“We’ve been really booming,” Schwartz said. “It’s really, really picking up traction fast. I’m really excited.”

ClusterFlunk was created by AJ Nelson, 22, who dropped out of the University of Iowa to focus on the website’s development. 

He founded the company in the winter of 2011 and launched the website in January 2013. 

Nelson is now the CEO and co-founder of ClusterFlunk, which has about 52,000 users at 15 universities, he said.

Jack Bryant, a 20-year-old UF mechanical engineering junior, said the network is a useful tool for his classes, but he has not met any classmates through ClusterFlunk yet. 

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He mainly uses shared review material for exams.

If students don’t share their notes, then the idea fails, Schwartz said. 

ClusterFlunk covers mainly entry-level classes.

The popularity of  the website in Gainesville is only a small portion of the platform’s success, Schwartz said. 

In ClusterFlunk’s semester-closing polls, 65 percent of users said the company improved their grades, and 38 percent said they met at least one friend through the network.

Lightbank, an organization that specializes in investment in technology companies, announced in July that it would invest $1 million in ClusterFlunk. Groupon also contributed to the first funding round, Schwartz said. 

The website is usually funded by advertisements, Nelson said.

Nelson said he and co-founder Joe Dallago care about mainly two things: getting students better grades and creating a social experience they would otherwise not have had access to.

“If we can keep doing those two things, giving kids a chance to learn more, learn better and get better grades and make friends in real life,” Nelson said, “you know, those are two pretty powerful things.”

[A version of this story ran on page 9 on 10/3/2014]

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