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PTC Member Spotlight Shines on Othot

Profile Submitted by Othot

PTC Member News

The Pittsburgh Technology Council loves introducing new members to the world. We have members that cut across the ecosystem. Let's take a look at Othot.

1) Give us a little background on Othot and how it landed on the education vertical to use its technology.

The three co-founders have a variety of experiences - serial entrepreneurship, working for scaled firms, software development - all having experience with software and the power of decision making through advanced analytics. They conceived of an idea to build an AI platform and tested industries that would need it most. Immediately their contact at the University of Pittsburgh said that this was "absolutely necessary," and so the Othot solution was born.

2) What kind of insights does Othot find from a school's data? What kind of data do you analyze?

Othot provides predictions and prescriptions for next actions at the individual level to help institutions with enrollment, student success and fundraising. In admissions, for example, we can identify the prospective students who might be considered the “best fit,” then who are most likely to graduate and eventually who would give back to their alma mater. The data we analyze depends upon each institution's historical performance and what data they collect. Data such as student GPA, geographic location, family income, etc. are utilized to better understand a student's likelihood to enroll and succeed, including how much financial aid they might need to enroll. 

3) How do schools then act on your findings? I bet the findings create a bit of astonishment!

Schools will use the data to make decisions about how to maximize their use of resources and funds. For example, one institution we work with had purchased a list of high school student names; our analysis showed them that, actually, this list was not as likely to enroll – on the surface – as the university may have hoped; we then provided specific actions – prescriptions – they could take with each individual that, ultimately, allowed them to increase their tuition revenue by $7m over what they otherwise might have expected. The data can also be used to identify students who might be at risk of leaving the school. Information such as their use of their meal plan may indicate some dissatisfaction so that can be used as an indicator of intervention need.

4) Seems like Othot could be used in a number of industries. Are there plans to expand?

For right now we are focused on serving higher education because there is quite a bit of need in this industry. The number of high school graduates are in a decline meaning that colleges need to be more focused than ever on who they attract to their school and ensuring they keep them enrolled and happy. There are other industries that could benefit from our platform and that is further in the future.

5) Has COVID-19 had any impact on growing and scaling the company?

There has been some challenge in getting the attention of Enrollment and Student Success leaders because they've been busy adapting to new ways of recruiting students and educating students. While this has slowed our ability to close new business, our customer retention has been incredibly strong and interest in our solution continues to grow as evidenced by our ability to exceed our lead generation goal for Q3 by more than 35%.