Alumna starts new social networking site to help students connect and stand out

06 April 2018
Danielle Mathiesen, Founder and CEO of BlackCap and University of Auckland Business School alumna
Danielle Mathiesen, Founder and CEO of BlackCap and University of Auckland Business School alumna

Business School alumna Danielle Mathiesen has launched a brand new social networking site with global ambitions called BlackCap. The platform is aimed at high school and university students and supports them through their education journey from school to employment. Students can connect with each other for peer-to-peer recommendations to inform study choices and showcase their achievements to attract scholarships and ultimately help get their dream job.

“My own experiences as a young student and observing the life choices of at-risk youth up close are what inspired me to create BlackCap. I wanted to create a tool that any young person, regardless of personal circumstance, could easily use to improve their chances of accessing opportunities through peer recommendation, connection and visibility – empowering them to build constructive futures."

Prior to starting BlackCap, Danielle was a mergers and acquisitions lawyer having graduated with a BCom from the University of Auckland Business School. Before committing to BlackCap full-time, she worked internationally and is proficient in six languages.

Noticing the rise in increasingly niche social media sites, Danielle realised millennials were being overlooked; “LinkedIn is for those who already have a job, and Facebook is a personal network, there is no serious and meaningful pre-employment platform for students to build their professional brand and establish valuable peer networks early.”

High School students and tertiary students are also prolific networkers without realising, they are digital natives creating and building their contacts via their phones and digital lives, Danielle realised this after graduating and feels that BlackCap can support that. “Some of the most important business contacts I have now, I made in school and university and some of these people are future CEOs and change-makers in their industries.” BlackCap facilitates building a strong network early on before you might know exactly what job you might want to do and then reinforces your employability through building a strong personal brand with endorsements. “As you add achievements to your profile, you gain ’badges’ though endorsements and these will help you stand out from the crowd,” adds Danielle.*

A former diversity and inclusion leader at a global law firm, Danielle believes employers must embrace diversity and inclusion to enable future generations to succeed within workplaces. She sees significant opportunity for BlackCap to link diversity and inclusion role models with students to help map their education and career pathways.     

Networking and connecting people is something Danielle has been doing since her time at university as she helped start the Auckland Young Professionals Society who’s “aim is to encourage fresh thinking among the next generation of decision makers” through educational and social events. She was recently a judge on the Auckland Champion’s Trophy Case Competition where student participants from top international universities were tested on their analytical, teamwork and communication skills across a range of business scenarios against competitors from around the world.

“There is an increasing number of millennial and generation Z leaders of youth movements, change makers in social enterprise, community role models, innovators and inventors. Students can benefit immensely by connecting to a shared knowledge base of that youth talent.”

“I wish I’d had BlackCap when I was younger to have asked my peers for advice and to help other people explore opportunities by socialising my own knowledge back into the student community.”

Anyone can sign up free via BlackCap’s website or by downloading the app via iTunes. Once you’ve created an account, don’t forget to follow the Business School and the University of Auckland.

*Please note, BlackCap will be releasing more features in the coming months.