How is Protopia different?

We started by asking “Do alumni, donors, students really need another feature-laden networking platform when we’re all already overwhelmed with too many apps?” 

So we built Protopia to be different. To be simpler. And to help you make existing tools work better for you and your constituents.

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Our alumni, our students, and our team are app’d out. We chose Protopia because we need a simple and scalable tool to let our alumni give back without throwing another platform at them.

Nancy Merritt
Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations
University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association

Nancy Merritt, Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations, University of Pittsburgh

Not another app

First things first: with Protopia there’s nothing new to sign up for or learn. Just like with your 401K, everyone is automatically enrolled (it’s super easy to opt out) and uses their favorite tools to engage (email, Slack, SMS, etc).

Why does that matter? Because the average professional already uses 35 different apps a day. They are not clamoring for another Facebook.

Oh, and Protopia uses your existing alumni data so your IT team doesn’t have to worry about “another database.”

Simple to use

When is the last time you heard an alum or student rave about networking on LinkedIn?

Unlike a networking platform, with Protopia users simply ask for help via a form, email, SMS, or your existing platforms (guided by our expertise) and our AI does the hard work of activating alumni for advice + networking.

It’s equally simple to help: About 10-15 of the most-relevant alumni receive a private email asking if they can assist. Recipients can not only choose if to help but also how much: quick advice, a call, or a meeting. Without ever logging into another app.

Privacy + control

LinkedIn and directories like it can be intimidating – not just for students looking to network but also for professionals inundated with requests. It’s hard to turn someone down and easier to just not engage.

With Protopia your busy experts will never feel bad about saying “no”: they are in full control if, when, and how they want to help. Their identities remain hidden (only you know who we ask) until they agree to assist.

If they guilt-free decline because they are not available or a request is not a fit, our algorithms learn their preferences and engage the next-best expert in the queue. 

Guaranteed engagement

Did you know that more than half of all questions on networking platforms go unanswered? Even fewer on LinkedIn. 

It’s hard enough to reach out and ask for help – no response from your alma mater is an engagement death knell. 

Protopia’s AI continuously recruits the best experts until we have two or more answers. You can optionally moderate, share with campus partners, or coach the “asker” on how to network.

Better alumni data

A rule of thumb on alumni data is “three jobs behind.” Long “update your data” forms typically offered by institutions probably don’t help. 

With Protopia, alumni not only get a compelling reason to update their data (“for better matches to volunteer opportunities”), but it’s also quick and without login. Which is why 25% of alumni that engage with Protopia update their data

Fast implementation

Change is never easy, but just like ripping off a Band-Aid, it should be quick and not hurt (a lot). 

Unlike the traditional months-long implementation process, you can launch Protopia as quickly as 4 weeks: branding, data, legal, administration (who should see & do what), and marketing. We will be by your side and support you with best practices, tools, and insights.

Easy to support

We’ve built Protopia from the ground-up to leverage artificial intelligence and “smart automation.” Our AI finds + engages the best, available alumni, determines when a request needs an approval or escalation, and jumps in as necessary to coach users. 

No need to “quit your day job” to monitor and manage. In fact, our customers spend about 0.2 FTE supporting Protopia – and that includes understanding how well the community is engaging via our private, real-time analytics dashboard.

Today, mentorship needs to be organic and responsive. People have a world of knowledge at their fingertips, and Protopia injects our alumni and students into that web. In my mind, this is the future of professional engagement. Mentorships will either form like this or not at all.

Jeff Gleim
Associate Vice Chancellor for Development & Alumni Relations
Southern Illinois University

Founder's Journey

Curious how we got our start? Here’s Protopia’s origin story from Founder & CEO Max Leisten.

Ready for robots to make engagement simpler?

Let us show you how simple networking can be for your alumni, donors, students, faculty, and staff.


Protopia’s artificial intelligence technology makes it simple for everyone in your community to connect. Without another app. 

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