In episode 96 of EDUKWEST my guest is Farbood Nivi, founder of test prep company Grockit and now founder of Learnist.
Having worked as a teacher for a decade, Farbood explains why the field of social learning has always fascinated him and how he built his companies around the huge amounts of knowledge freely available on the Internet and the different aspects of social learning as centerpieces.
With Grockit generating constant revenue and it being a finished product, Farbood has concentrated on building Learnist over roughly the past two years. Some have described Learnist is described as the Pinterest of education by some, so we speak about the fascinating and aspects and possibilities Farb saw for education when he first experienced Pinterest.
Content on Learnist comes from various different sources, Wikipedia, YouTube videos, ShowMe’s just to name a few. You can also watch my interview with ShowMe founder and CEO San Kim if you’re interested in learning more about the product or if you search on EDUKWEST you’ll find various articles on how to integrate ShowMe into your teaching and learning.
Adoption of the product by learners happened quickly, Farb shares that some 10% of users are also creators which is rather significant.
Last December we saw a $20 million investment led by Discovery Communications which led me to explore the role Grockist and primarily Learnist might play in Discovery’s overall strategy. I covered the announcement back in December and already expressed some ideas on why I think it’s a particularly interesting investment.
Looking at what Farb himself will be up to in 2013, he states to always follow the principle of killing two (or several) birds with one stone. As you might now he’s been quite active in Startup Weekend EDU and looking at him constantly being pitched by entrepreneurs, I think it’s safe to say that we’re going to see more in field of mentoring and maybe investing in edtech companies if we add to the picture that he’s also the founder and executive director at Socratic Labs, an educational technology accelerator out of NYC.
The problem in the space right now is that there has been such an effort to turn the teacher into an entrepreneur. I think the effort should have been put in getting these teacher entrepreneurs to partner with business entrepreneurs.
And not because they are incapable of any aspect of the business but there is too much work to do and that an educator entrepreneur should probably be focused on the product and learning aspect of the organization and the partner should be focused on the business aspect of it and the whole organization is more likely to succeed I think in this way. Kind of this founder dating style. I’d like to see a lot more of that.
|Farbood Nivi on Twitter:||@farbood|
|Startup Weekend Edu:||http://edu.startupweekend.org