About Penn Labs

A Story of Building Tools that Matter

We’re a team of product designers, software engineers, and business developers. We believe in improving the Penn community. In addition to creating open-source, quality products, we give back with educational resources and technical support.

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Humble beginnings at a hackathon

In 2011, we got our start at Penn’s student-run hackathon, PennApps. A small team was working on what’s now called Penn Course Review. Although Penn had been releasing semesterly professor and course reviews for decades, the team at PennApps wanted to build a user-friendly website. They envisioned a database that would serve as a the most trusted source of crowd-sourced academic information at Penn.

After the hackathon was over, the team that made Penn Course Review was turned into PennApps Labs to continue maintaining the platform. It was also tasked with a bigger goal: look for more ways to use technology to improve life at Penn.

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Growing Our Reach

University support for our mission

So, we hit the ground running. We believe that when it comes to improving life for students, students themselves are the best-equipped to engage with users and provide meaningful solutions. With our core value of improving student life, we built a track record of creating real products with real impact. Soon, we established ourselves as Penn Labs and became affiliated with the Undergraduate Assembly. This brought us into campus-wide conversations about addressing student needs. It also gave us a seat at the table with university administrators.

Penn’s support is incredibly humbling and means a lot to us. This support comes in many forms, including financing, data, and access to Penn’s technology infrastructure. With it, we’ve invested in cultivating a startup-like environment to build reliable, high quality products and uphold industry standards in engineering and education.

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Penn Labs Today

For academics, campus life, and everything in-between

We believe that Penn Labs is an organization like no other. We run like a startup and grow as a family. We’re connected through the challenging and impactful nature of our work. We’re students first, and we believe in learning by doing—together.

Innovation in technology has made a lot of what we do possible. Over the years, the horizon grows ever broader and barriers to entry diminish. We can’t wait to see where this road takes us, as we continue working toward our mission for many more years to come. We hope that we’re making Penn better for you.

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