How a UI graduate aims to make creative collaboration easier for students

Comigo, a web platform created by University of Iowa graduate Isabel Reed, is now live on campus. The platform encourages creative collaboration among students and allows them to work outside their specific areas of study.


Photo illustration by Emily Wangen

Annie Fitzpatrick, News Reporter

“Comigo,” or the Portuguese phrase for “with me,” is a new web platform made for college students to find cross-campus collaborators and aims to make creative projects an easier feat for the University of Iowa student body.

The idea for the platform came to its creator and spring 2018 UI graduate Isabel Reed after using the dating app Tinder in an attempt to organize a group of actors for her short-film series. As a former UI psychology student, Reed said she found herself surrounded by the same people in her major, which made it hard to find collaborators for her creative passions in film.

After failed attempts to reach out to the theatre department and various film professors, Reed said she eventually turned to Tinder.

“In the last few short attempts to kind of solve that problem and still be able to move forward with my project, I actually made a Tinder account and tried to recruit students through that — and it worked,” Reed said.

Reed said she was kicked off of Tinder after using the app too much for networking and fundraising reasons. But her initial need for the app led her to realize that a creative-networking outlet for students was missing on campus, making it difficult to collaborate with students outside of their own programs of study. With that, she began to create Comigo.

From passion projects to side hustles or anything in between, Reed said the web platform is catered to projects ranging from ideas to full-blown startups years in the making. No matter the current state of a project, she said, Comigo can help its users find collaborators and grow an idea.

“Basically, the idea is when you join Comigo, you join as a collaborator, so you can browse around to find projects that interest you,” Reed said. “And if nothing interests you, no problem. But if you find something you can reach out to them and join their project.”

Isabelle teDuits, business-development strategist for Comigo, joined the startup through an internship posting on HandShake. She helps Reed with outreach, community and campus engagement, and social-media organization. This, Reed and teDuits said, is currently the most important part of Comigo.

While marketing Comigo has proven to be challenging, teDuits said, it is important to make students aware of the platform and how diverse teams expand the possibilities of projects.

“We need to have diverse teams, and diverse groups of people with different ideas, different backgrounds, everything like that to be able to come together and really work, and Comigo allows for that to happen,” teDuits said.

Reed said she created Comigo in a way that allows students and collaborators to form teams and network in a more casual and approachable way.

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“Where LinkedIn really succeeds in professionalism, being serious, and formality … we value coming as you are, being authentic, being creative, building things, breaking things, working together,” Reed said.

UI senior Jade Peterson was connected to Comigo after meeting Reed at the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center’s founders club. Peterson said, like Reed, she started her own business creating comedy shows for kids.

After hearing about Comigo, Peterson posted job opportunities for students across campus to participate in her shows. Peterson said finding the right people has been the biggest struggle for her business, so she is looking forward to how Comigo can help.

Peterson said beyond just her own project, Comigo is a great opportunity for the UI student body.

“As a business student, I have a lot of interests outside business … and I never really had the opportunity to expand outside my business focus … so this platform is a great opportunity to provide you better collaboration across campus and departments,” she said.

Without taking a risk, Peterson added, she would have never started her own business, so Comigo helps students make that leap and challenge themselves creatively.

“The biggest thing is people have to put themselves out there, take risks, and be uncomfortable,” Peterson said.

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