Thanks to increased access to the Internet and faster connections, Latin America has become one of the growing markets for online based education services.
Etutores is an online learning platform that aims to connect students and teachers. The online portal offers additional features like online booking, a virtual classroom environment, mobile applications and teacher training.
Introduce your startup and give a short description of what you are doing.
Etutores is a free online tutoring portal that connects teachers and students in a seamless, interactive and unprecedented way. Our company taps into the rapidly expanding education market in Brazil, but focuses upon the untapped niche of interactive online tutoring with the focus on the teacher segment as a target audience.
Who are the founders, how did you meet, what are your different roles in the startup.
CEO Etutores. She is an educator with experience in the management of teachers and the production of online content. Andrea has a DELTA diploma from the University of Cambridge, UK. She has coordinated and managed teachers at Embassy CES Oxford – UK and developed projects in the area of online learning at the BBC and Macmillan Publishers. Andrea understands the Startup dynamics and the Brazilian market well. She is capable of designing bespoke online learning solutions with a fast, cost effective approach.
Offline Marketing Consultant for Etutores. Bruna has a lot of experience as a producer of promotional events and an extensive portfolio of work done for large companies in Brazil, such as Biolab and Claro HDTV. She can plan, coordinate and execute successful offline marketing campaigns.
We met when working together on a roadshow of a project from the BBC in partnership with Universidades Anhanguera in Brazil.
What is the main problem in education that you aim to solve.
Teachers tend to be dissatisfied with their compensation at work and will often spend a long time filling school paperwork and commuting. They welcome the opportunity to gain more autonomy and earn more by managing their own workload and schedule. Etutores responds to the demands of the teaching profession by establishing a platform as a commodity in order to attract students. Etutores focuses on a transparent and fair business model, whereby the teacher is an asset and an active member and representative of the brand.
Furthermore, there’s potential to grow to another big market, since an increasing number of educational institutions which offer courses online, are continually focusing upon the development of content and video lessons to cater for this ever-growing number of students that are taking up these courses. As a result, significant numbers of institutions are actively seeking solutions to offer their students a more balanced teacher vs. content learning experience.
In which markets / regions are you active. What markets / regions are next.
We chose Brazil as our initial market. The decision was made based on the size of the market and the local demand. It also made sense to start somewhere we knew well. The natural expansion would be to cover other Latin American countries such as Argentina and Peru, and we have plans to launch an English version on the platform in the UK soon.
Who is your target audience.
Etutores focuses primarily upon one distinct customer segment:
Teachers; Professors at the University level along with secondary school teachers will be targeted in the initial product rollout. That’s a total number of 2.5M prospects. Our goal is to reach 3% marketshare by the end of year 3.
Who are your main competitors?
At present, there is no free online tutoring platform in Brazil. There are, however, three companies which offer similar services on a monthly subscription or commission per lesson basis. Unlike Etutores, none of them offer any teacher development courses.
How do you engage with your target audience. How do you convert them into users of your product.
We plan to initially promote Etutores through campaigns on LinkedIn and Facebook, and then support those campaigns with personal networking and outreach. We have already tested these approaches at a smaller scale, and they have delivered strong results. The teaching community in Brazil is already very active online, especially in social networking sites.
With the basic functionalities of the product offered for free, the strategy to convert existent non-paying users to paying users is to promote the premium functionalities of the platform via the platform itself, email and online campaigns. These are initially; online invoicing and payment tools, advanced booking calendar and enhanced visibility in the search results.
What is your business model. How much does your product / service cost.
At present the platform is completely free. However, in the next couple of month we’ll launch the premium memberships for teachers, which will be offered for a USD20/ month fee, through a monthly membership contract. This is comparatively cheaper to competitors’ prices. Offering variations of membership such as a more sophisticated plan or a more economic one are an option to try to capture an even wider range of users, but for the purposes of this business plan I will keep all forecast to the initial 2 variations of monthly fees (USD20/50).
If you raised funding, how much did you raise. Who are your investors. If not, are you planning to raise funding.
We are planning to raise funding in the first quarter of 2015. Initially we are approaching potential Angel investors, but we are also launching an equity crowd funding campaign soon.
Are there milestones you are especially proud of and would like to share.
In just over the first 3 months of our beta version, we had drawn subscriptions from 900 educators and 1300 students! So far the platform has facilitated over 500 private lessons and our community is growing organically and with the support of the teaching community in Brazil.
What are the next steps in growing your startup.
To obtain this market share we plan to use a “freemium” online portal that will offer basic, but robust tutoring capacity for teachers and students. We will draw revenue from members who subscribe to our premium membership, which includes customizable add-ons, such as advanced booking, a convenient and safe online payment and invoicing functionality. Teachers will also have access to a library of free open source content and unlimited use of virtual whiteboard rooms. As well as the opportunity to purchase teacher training and certification from the platform.
Once a pool of qualified and experienced teachers is formed and graded by users, and internal assessment tools, by the end of year two, Etutores will be in a position to place itself as the “LinkedIn of online tutoring” being the complete online tutoring solution in the national market. Offering Educational Institutions a route to the recruitment of trained, certified, independent online professionals, which will cater for the growing trend to adapt online courses to a more blended learning reality.