I think we should target teachers (they will bring their students on board) to populate the site with more content before trying to target others. Teachers/students will use the tool for educational/project purposes and be driven to post content, where as the general population might be more interested in getting information as opposed to giving at first. The general population will be put off if the site has little content/info and not enough people are on there yet to answer their questions.
University teachers & students are our only target group now. Improveo serves for in-class activities and connecting groups of students sharing focus on the same topics.
On the other hand, we can't exclude the general public. From discussions with teachers & my experience as a student, i see that students of natural sciences have opportunities for practical internships in laboratories and companies, while students of social sciences tend to remain isolated in their environment. Real-life societies with their messiness, dynamics & personal motives are the best laboratories for students of social sciences!!!
Improveo gives tools for teachers to control the scope of the exposure for their students. Teachers decide what's discussed internally or externally. The big mistake we can make is to not live up to expectations of teachers who will want to expose their students to people outside academia, to people affected by the problems the students wish to impact.
Improveo should target universities, but attract also other curious people by listing the benefits it can bring to other groups and especially businesses. Thus, Improveo will be ready to pivot and adapt in any situation.
Yes- just like Facebook did initially. It built on exclusivity, improved and had a great reputation for connectivity before reaching the general public. I also think we should narrow our target list- maybe teachers and students. They are our ideal users, and if we can learn from their user experience, in time, we can open up the platform publically. But yes, we should definitely start with a particular niche of a population. It will strengthen our identity as a platform before we grow further.