100% of great ad-ventures start with bold people, a story about the promise of education technology
As you may know, I started a venture called Little Genius four months ago. Why? Because I struggled as a parent to reach out for teachers and communication wasn’t easy. Simply put, the venture aims at improving the parent-student-teacher relationships by providing a simple, free, fun instant messaging mobile platform for school. A dedicated, finely crafted application to get the best from teachers, parents and especially students.
Today, I contact you because (i) I am convinced that education is the next industry to be disrupted by the mobile and Internet revolution and (ii) I believe this revolution is a great opportunity for the mankind to thrive in a knowledge economy.
First, let’s examine disruption: Transportation, you have Uber and Blablacar, CRM you have Salesforce, Internet you have Google, Hotel & Travel you have AirBnB, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, etc., retail you have Amazon, social you have Facebook, recruitment you have LinkedIn.
Marc Andreessen, Netscape founder and Internet visionary, in his great 2011 post “Why software is eating the world” mentioned so many industries already disrupted. He also mentioned the next one:
“Education is next up for fundamental software-based transformation. We believe education, which historically has been highly resistant to entrepreneurial change, is primed for tipping by great new software-centric entrepreneurs.” M. Andreessen
This is now. Take for example, what happened in April 2015: Lynda, a life-long learning provider, was acquired for 1.5 $billion by LinkedIn. This acquisition is the top of the iceberg, a beginning of a long structural change of transformation in the education space. What about the 1 billion+ young people aged between 6–18, mostly based in emerging countries with their mobile as their first internet device? What about Education as-a-Service? The promise of learning anywhere, anytime is now coming closer.
Now, let’s go back to earth. Somehow, very little has changed at school and classes are mostly taught in a uniform way. As the World Economic Forum (who yearly meets in Davos) puts it, “the full potential of early stages of technology adoption has yet to be realized to impact student learning in primary and secondary education” in the 2015 report “New Vision for Education, Unlocking the Potential of Technology”.
So now, let’s see why this revolution is an opportunity for the mankind:
In the same report, the World Economic Forum argues that “students are often not attaining 16 most critical skills to thrive in a rapidly evolving technology-mediated world”. Some important skills are, in addition to the foundation skills, critical thinking, problem solving, communication & collaboration, curiosity, persistence & grit. These skills can be practised and facilitated by technology.
Technology opens endless possibilities for deeper, personalised learning when used with care and diligence and the engagement of all stakeholders. Whether it is flip class, blending learning or other. To go further, you may check out the Harvard Kennedy School research paper, “The underutilized Potential of Teacher-to-Parent Communication”, which emphasizes how a close teacher-parent relationship improves student outcomes.
So you may wonder, what are the benefits of overcoming these challenges? Well, you get what I call a “super dividend”: if you plot countries’ PISA score vs. countries’ GDP, you find a very nice relationship: +25 points in PISA score is around +10 000 USD GDP per capita.
Country (PISA score) = GDP in USD in 2013
France (495) = 42 500
Germany (514) = 46 250
Canada (518) = 52 000
Singapore (573) = 55 000
Correlation does not imply causation; but I find this fact is very inspiring and promising (see this chart). You now better understand the rationale behind the old saying “Investing in your children education is the best investment you can make”.
Today, whilst the business plan is done and the Minimum Viable Product nearly finished, I am still working on the Go-To-Market on the Apple Store and Google Play. I feel the need to reach you and seek some support.
If you care about this venture, what I am really looking for is not money but BRAIN POWER: smart, bold people looking for challenges and desire to change the education world for the better; co-founder, advisor with technical skills and/or network in the education world ready to invest their time; or dedicated employed with a passion for the mobile world and education; people who are genuinely interested in developing this venture in the long term.
If you care, speak to your friends & colleagues about this extra-ordinary ad-venture . Anyone interested to join this venture can contact me !