The Internet increasingly establishes the need for instant gratification. Information that used to take time to source and process is now available 24/7 and this basically anywhere we have connectivity. This new mindset also affects how we want to learn new skills like languages, coding, cooking, you name it.
Startups like Coursmos tackle this need by drastically reducing the time to learn new things by boiling content down to its essentials and presenting it in bite-sized learning units.
Introduce your startup and give a short description of what you are doing.
Coursmos is a micro-learning platform. Microlearning is a bite-sized education process for people that get easily distracted. Microlearning is not just about shorter courses. It’s about micro-courses where each micro-lesson has a message, completed idea or piece of knowledge. Courses are divided into categories for easy browsing, with sections running the gamut from art to cooking to computer to handicraft to health to work and business.
Who are the founders, how did you meet, what are your different roles in the startup.
Roman Kostochka, founder and CEO;
Katerina Seledets, COO;
Igor Gonednyy, Head of Business Development;
Slava Grachev, CTO
Roman met with Katerina when she was working at Ukraine/USA Business Incubator Happy Farm. Slava met with Roma in 2013 and joined Coursmos as CTO. Igor was Head of Business Development at LinguaLeo, a personal service for learning English online with more than 11,5M users.
How was the idea for your startup born?
In May 2013 we applied for Ukraine/USA business incubator Happy Farm with an EdTech project ‘Razmir’, we’d raised $500K for before. For that stage we’d started to develop monetisation and took the decision to go global.
During the process of the idea development, company scaling and communication process with Silicon Valley experts, we came up with the idea of a micro-learning format. As a part of ‘Razmir’ this new idea was hardly possible to perform — the offline part of ‘Razmir’ was not suited for micro-learning format. So we took decision to make a pivot as we saw great potential in micro-learning. This was in June 2013, also at this time I persuaded one of the business angels who has invested in ‘Razmir’ to support the new idea. Actually, it took me a call and in the end we had raised $80K. Then, we started over and registered a new company.
On the 1st of August later this year we started the product development and on the 1st of September we launched an iOS application called Coursmos, which allowed every user to get access to the first micro-courses. And this is how the Coursmos story began. Today we have an Android application, a web version, 14 000 micro-courses and more than 520 000 learners all over the world.
What is the main problem in education that you aim to solve.
Only 4% of students finish the online courses they signed up for, says Coursera. According to a YouTube study tracking average time spent watching a YouTube video, this time is somewhere between 1:04 and 2:43. We at Coursmos solve the problem of shrinking attention spans and decreasing motivation. At Coursmos courses consist of bite-sized lessons of up to 3 minutes each. Our statistics show, that over 60% of students finish a lesson, and over 30% a course.
Who are your main competitors? What sets you apart from them?
Udemy.com is a platform or marketplace for online learning. Unlike academic MOOC programs driven by traditional collegiate coursework, Udemy provides a platform for experts of any kind to create courses. Over 6 000 000 students and 20 000+ courses. The top 10 instructors on Udemy earned $1,7M last year.
lynda.com, Inc., is a privately held online education company offering thousands of video courses in software, creative and business skills. Founded in 1995, the company produces video tutorials taught by industry experts; there are 6 000 000 users. Lynda has raised $186M recently.
YouTube is a video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California. The service was created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005. In November 2006, it was bought by Google for US$1.65 billion. Over 5M people that created educational videos which have over 400M viewers
Coursera is a for-profit educational technology company founded by computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller from Stanford University that offers massive open online courses.
The Global E-Learning Market is $90B with 23% annual growth. Our competitive advantage is that we offer an effective micro format for quick assimilation of knowledges that results in high motivation and nice traction. We offer micro-courses created via our mobile app and the web, and we allow users to create their own educational environment. Also, Coursmos offers a corporate solution which allows companies to create educational micro-courses and train employees at any time convenient for them through through this effective format.
In which markets / regions are you active. What markets / regions are next.
Our strongests markets are the USA, the UK, Russia, India and Brazil. We plan to launch in LatAm market soon.
Who is your target audience.
In our online education micro-learning marketplace, the primary users are English-speaking students who want to gain some knowledge fast and people who want to share their knowledge, the secondary users are people searching for something interesting they could implement on a daily basis.
How do you engage with your target audience. How do you convert them into users of your product.
An author creates a micro-course that consists of bite-sized lessons and attracts users who in turn learn. In case deeper understanding of a subject or any additional information is needed, a learner makes a specific request for a new micro-course. The request goes to authors who have relevant knowledge and also goes to a requests’ catalog, which is inherently a tool for gathering and analyzing demand in the education market
Each author on the platform gets requests for new micro-courses from his or her students to get specific knowledge, provided an author meets the demand. These new micro-courses become available to the student who has requested it. Moreover, the micro-course is placed on the Coursmos platform, where every internet user has the ability to find it and learn.
Based on this process of non-stop creation and providing unique and relevant educational content, a host of new learners and authors populates the platform and micro-communities are established around each topic. As a direct result of Coursmos’ viral tools, like our request tool, social sharing and comments within each micro-community evolves and expands globally.
What is your business model. How much does your product / service cost.
On Coursmos an author has the option to make any course free or paid. On the other hand, students or users can buy a single course for the price set by author or subscribe for premium membership on Coursmos, which allows her to watch any course including premium without limits. Coursmos earns a 40% share from the total revenue generated both ways, giving 60% to authors.
There is an option for authors or companies to create their own schools on Coursmos, which gives authors additional advertising opportunities alongside with a list of wider features. We are looking forward to providing this opportunity on a freemium/paid subscription basis.
Also, we provide a corporate learning solution. Our SaaS solution is designed to implement micro-learning formats into a corporate structure. It takes the effectiveness of staff learning and developing to the next level.
If you raised funding, how much did you raise. Who are your investors. If not, are you planning to raise funding.
$1.3 in seed from business-angels, Imperious Group and Altera Capital
Are there milestones you are especially proud of and would like to share.
Coursmos is a global micro-learning platform:
- with more that 15 000 micro-courses
- with more than 50 000 micro-lessons
- with more than 560 000 users and 6 000 authors
- with strongest markets in the USA, the UK, Russia, India and Brazil
- where 60% of students finish the first micro-lesson, and 30% of students finish a micro-course
- where users spend 6 min on average, and 22% spend 11-30 min
- with 47% users coming from mobile
We’ve already launched iOs and Android apps, a recommendation system which includes an expert system, and a request tool to provide learners with relevant micro-courses and an opportunity to get any micro-course they want.
What are the next steps in growing your startup.
At Coursmos we intend to gather all knowledge and provide access to every learner who seeks the opportunity of self and career growth. We build a global billion company with a product available worldwide.