Just before yesterday’s announcement of his third edtech startup Galxyz (pronounced Galaxies), I had the chance for a quick interview with Osman Rashid and to ask him a few questions about his new (ed)venture in K12 education.
Though it is still early I was pretty impressed with the storyline, characters and look of this upcoming science game that aims to blur the lines between playing and learning.
Osman Rashid is of course a well known figure in the edtech space. Before his latest venture he was the co-founder and CEO of both Chegg and Kno, two companies that left their mark in the textbook space. This led me to my first question.
KW: Looking at your first two edtech ventures and track record you could have done virtually anything. Why did you choose K-12 STEM education as your new market?
OR: Yes, I could have but I felt that why wouldn’t I do this and I feel Galxyz is my most ambitious challenge yet! Improving education is one of the most important things we should all aspire to do since its’ impact is huge. Also, many kids are dropping out of Science and we hope, in our little way, we can help reverse that trend since we need more critical thinkers and problems solvers in the world.
I’ve designed this with my own two girls in mind, so my toughest customers are in my own house!
KW: Will the game be multi-platform or tablet based. Maybe multiplayer down the road?
OR: It will be multi-platform and our future plans include kids working in groups – even across the world.
KW: What is the bigger picture for your new venture. Are you planning something along the lines of a Rovio for education? Looking at the story, the characters etc I could imagine cartoons, toys and other related merch.
OR: If we can make an engaging product for kids the sky’s the limit. But yes, we’ve thought hard about the characters and can see them as a saturday morning cartoon or other Rovio style merchandising strategies.
KW: Any lessons edtech startups in the “edutainment” sector can learn from companies like Rovio or Zynga?
OR: Every company faces its own challenges but there are some really good things to learn from both Rovio and Zynga. Both companies were trailblazers – Zynga is social and Rovio in mobile. Rovio has done an amazing job at a product that can work across all age groups and brilliant merchandising, and Zynga was the master of social gaming (something that we’ll like to replicate in the multiplayer angle).
The official launch for Galxyz is planned for the fall of 2014. You can find additional information about the startup and its partner The New York Science Association in our HEDLINE about the launch.