GoSkills.com was announced the 2020 winner in the Start Up category. We spoke with Bhavneet Chahal the Co-Founder of GoSkills to learn more about the companies success and what is next in-store...
What was the inspiration behind starting GoSkills?
I started GoSkills because I believe affordable, high-quality education should be accessible to everyone. GoSkills was founded in New Zealand, where I studied for university. My Master of Entrepreneurship degree at the University of Otago allowed me to tap into a community of mentors and founders for advice and support. It was there that I was connected with GoSkills co-founder, Franz, and one of our lead developers, Julian. Back in 2013 when the company was founded, I saw that online courses were a growth area, but that they were not always providing the quality content required by professionals looking to expand their skills. I saw the opportunity to create online courses that leveraged top instructors and web-based technologies to drive improvements in learning outcomes.
What would you like everyone to know about GoSkills?
Our culture is something we’re extremely proud of. GoSkills is entirely bootstrapped and run by a 100% remote and distributed team. Our team members are spread all over the world in North America, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Spain and South Africa, and we communicate daily across these time zones and continents. Together, we have built a culture that encourages freedom, creativity, open communication and thinking outside the box.
Last year we held a team building retreat in Thailand, and although it was the first time for many of us to meet face-to-face, it was remarkable to see how everybody’s personalities were exactly how they seemed online. The retreat was a valuable experience for us to further cement our team bond and discuss how we can work better together.
What are you looking to achieve next?
We have a few things we want to achieve in the coming years. At present, GoSkills is only available in English. We want to improve accessibility by expanding our library to offer courses in other languages, such as Spanish, Mandarin and German.
We’re also continuing to improve our user experience and learner outcomes by implementing more neuroeducation techniques. At present, we use microlearning and gamification, and we’re looking to expand into social learning.
Lastly, we launched the GoSkills Learning Management System (LMS) early last year. Since launching, over 3000 businesses have chosen to work with us. A priority of ours is to continue to improve the performance and capabilities of our products, to better serve both individual learners as well as organisations implementing internal training programmes.
Looking back to the day you started, what would you have done differently?
Looking back, I would have been more proactive in speaking with our first learners to better understand their learning needs, pain points and subject interests. This would have helped better inform our product positioning and courses offering from an earlier stage. Being close to learners and understanding their needs is essential to ensuring a product-market fit.
What piece of advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
- Know your audience — conduct customer surveys often, analyze your data, and keep a watchful eye on customer feedback. Once you know who your customers are, their motivations and their needs, you can better serve them and help them achieve their goals.
- Recruit people who share your vision and have complementary skill sets.
- Seek to continuously have product-market fit, this is especially important as the market changes and external factors affect the wider industry.
- Collect and analyse your data to ensure you’re on the right track.
- Continuously seek customer feedback to ensure your product remains competitive and innovative in the market.
How do you think the support and ecosystem in your country has helped you to launch and grow GoSkills?
GoSkills was founded in New Zealand, where I studied for university. It was there that I was connected with GoSkills co-founder, Franz, and one of our lead developers, Julian.
I then moved to Hong Kong, which has a thriving startup ecosystem. The year after I moved, we received an innovation grant from the Hong Kong government.
What’s been the biggest challenge you have seen with GoSkills amidst the COVID-19 pandemic?
Our individual subscriptions had dropped slightly as some learners faced job losses and furloughs. We subsequently dropped our annual subscription price from USD $299 to $199 and offered free access to those who cancelled due to financial constraints.
Upskilling is essential right now, especially since many of the jobs that existed pre-COVID-19 may not exist in the same way amidst the pandemic. We’ve consequently seen a rise in demand for remote training options by organisations looking to upskill their staff, and to keep people positive and productive while working from home.
How to envisage the EdTech landscape to change as we go into the ‘New Normal’?
Until there is a viable and widely accessible vaccine, I believe social distancing measures are here to stay. This means that in-person lectures and conferences will be less common as people accept remote training as a viable, effective and economical alternative.
With a greater reliance on EdTech, I believe that we will see a surge in new technologies and innovations in this space, and a focus on social learning to make people feel more connected while learning remotely.
Finally, is there anything else you would like to add?
GoSkills runs a bi-yearly scholarship programme for female students who want to start their own businesses. As a female founder, I believe it’s important to encourage young women to take on leadership roles in business and entrepreneurship.
Since launching the “Be the Boss” scholarship programme in 2017, we have collectively awarded six promising young women with $12,000 in total funding.
If you’re reading this and are interested in applying for the scholarship yourself, or know someone who might be interested, please share the link and spread the word!