Steep learning curve for education start-up

Steep learning curve for education start-up

Summary: Collaborative learning website WeTeachMe has only been in beta for a couple of weeks, but its founders are already eyeing international growth and riches.

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TOPICS: Start-Ups
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Collaborative learning website WeTeachMe has only been in beta for a couple of weeks, but its founders are already eyeing international growth and riches.

The website allows any individual to conduct a lesson on any subject (so far there are lessons on forklift driving, boxing and gamification), which are activated once a minimum number of people have signed up. It also features a payment system for students to pay for the lesson (the site takes a 15 per cent cut).

In the coming weeks, the founders will head to Silicon Valley on a fundraising and networking mission, seeking an investment round of $1.6 million, which would fund the operations for 18 months, according to co-founder Kym Hyunh.

There they will meet with venture capitalists, angel investors and Aussies, which he said help the company to avoid the awkward bootstrapping phase and launch into being a fully fledged business.

"We're educating ourselves with how tech scene works over there," Hyunh said. "It's a very expensive coffee to go to the States, but we think you should go hard or go home.

"The value a lot of people get out of Silicon Valley is the relationships; we're forming the key relationships we need. Every opportunity we've had in Australia is from relationships, and that's what we want to bring back to Melbourne."

The start-up emerged from the Launch48 event in Melbourne a couple of months ago, when the founders — Kym Huynh (business and operations), Demi Markogiannaki (strategic partnerships), Rowan McSweeney (communications), Cheng Zhu (developer) and Martin Kemka (finance) — first met over a weekend and created a minimal viable product and business plan for the education-sharing start-up.

So far, there are 500 users and about 100 lessons on the site. The immediate focus is to publish as many new lessons as possible before the launch in six weeks.

In the two months after launch, Hyunh hopes to attract between 5000 and 10,000 users to the site.

The company charges a 15 per cent transaction fee on all lessons, and the company is profitable before wage expenses, Hyunh said. The key metric, according to Hyunh, will be the amount of purchases made, and the number of repeat purchases.

SWOT

Strengths

The company has launched a product, which has attracted users and lessons, and has a profitable model. There are big social and sharing elements to the idea.

Weaknesses

The site relies on the quality of lessons. The co-founders might be spreading themselves a bit thin by launching the full version here while chasing investment overseas.

Opportunities

The concept could take off globally if it hits a chord with users, especially via promotion in the States.

Threats

By taking investment, the co-founders could prevent the company from evolving naturally with a customer focus, as opposed to chasing revenues to pay back investors.

Conclusion

The concept is good, and there is a business model behind it. The strength of the company is the commitment of its founders, specifically Hyunh.

Verdict: boom

Topic: Start-Ups

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