Matches Made in Cyberspace

UM alumnus Steven Reubenstone has launched Collaborizm, a Web-based platform that matches people interested in collaborating on projects.

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 21, 2014) — It was a search Steven Reubenstone thought would be a cinch. A mechanical engineering major in the University of Miami’s College of Engineering, he wanted to partner with an electrical engineering student on an academic project, but finding the right person with the skill set he needed proved fruitless.

That’s when Reubenstone got an idea: a Web-based platform that matches people working on projects with others who have the expertise in a particular area they need.

Now, three years after he came up with that concept, Reubenstone’s Collaborizm is a reality, offering students, faculty, and staff from across UM the opportunity connect on projects—anything from a business venture to a volunteer initiative—via the Web.

“I saw a real need in this area,” says Reubenstone, who graduated from UM in 2013. “I knew that if I was having problems reaching out to students who took classes in the same building as I did, students in other schools and colleges might have been having the same difficulty. But no one was really addressing the problem in the right way.”

Reubenstone developed a special algorithm for his Collaborizm software that matches users not only by skills but also academic majors, personalities, common interests, and levels of experience, ensuring compatibility for potential ventures. “You need different skill sets and personalities to make any project work,” he says.

Each Collaborizm user answers a series of questions and is assigned a profile, which allows the software to match them with others. From there, they can form teams and enter virtual workspaces to bring ideas to life, even sharing their projects with and getting feedback from people outside their network.

“It could be a film documentary, a classroom project, a movie script, or a musical,” Reubenstone says of the potential collaborations that can be facilitated through his creation. “It’s my hope that Collaborizm becomes an essential tool for the educational environment.”

UM is supporting his venture, creating a landing page on its miami.edu site through which users can access the platform.

The Long Island, New York, native has pursued Collaborizm with a nonstop passion. During his sophomore year at UM, he spent three months drafting the product, filling more than 100 pages of a notebook with concepts and then spending as many as six hours a day transferring those ideas to a computer. He eventually came up with a one-page business plan and submitted it to UM’s entrepreneurial center for students, the Launch Pad, which assigned him a venture coach who helped get his idea off the ground.

Reubenstone has attracted the attention of UM President Donna E. Shalala and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc, and Allan Gyorke, assistant vice president for information technology, has counseled him on how to position his product in the education technology market.

Reubenstone’s desire to make things work better was born out of the curiosity and ingenuity he displayed as a little boy. “I was always tinkering,” he recalls, “building trams that would go from my room to the basement. I even built an alarm system for my room when I was 8.”

It was UM’s College of Engineering, however, that helped him develop the skills he needed to launch Collaborizm. “It tested my brain, pushed me to the absolute limit,” Reubenstone says. “Without the kind of mental training UM provided, there’s no way I’d be able to handle this.”

Check out Reubenstone’s Collaborizm at umiami.collaborizm.com.


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UM alumnus Steven Reubenstone

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