The Internet’s true power lies in creating communities and sharing resources. Lurnt will become the premiere resource for students in Grades 4-12 to find, create and share educational resources to supplement their learning. It will function as a resource aggregator that is curated by students for students.
At this time, I am currently seeking early stage angel investors with a shared passion for technology and education. Investment and equity stake can be negotiated based on what a partner can bring to the table both financially and in terms of business acumen. Investors should expect returns once we are ready for an initial public offering or acquisition from another larger educational business seeking an established online presence and community.
Thank you for reading and I hope that you find the following presentation informative.
Venture pitch (and elevator pitch) can be found here: https://gnowsirhc.wixsite.com/lurnt
Reflection (as of 11/29/2018)
Like many others here, I was initially very nervous about developing and presenting an idea that I would need to share with other students in this class. ETEC 522 is full of energetic, vibrant and positive colleagues with great energy and pitches. I’m usually more introspective and very risk averse – starting any venture without knowing absolutely everything ahead of time scares me.
Developing a concept, the elevator pitch and a venture pitch has given me more confidence in looking to perhaps solve education related problems (and do so profitably) or exploiting market opportunities. In the past I would have simply thought of an idea and let it pass without giving it a second thought.
One of the most important lessons I learned while developing a venture was to understand my own strengths and weaknesses. By understanding who I was and what I was good at, I am better able to seek others who share my passion and complement my abilities. I know that I do not know enough about financing and valuation so I would need to find partners who can fill in these gaps. As an EVA I recognize the importance of a strong leadership team. A good concept in insufficient without a team to bring it to fruition.
Being able to accept and value criticism is another critical aspect to being a entrepreneur. LURNT felt like my baby and I immediately felt defensive if someone pointed out a fault in the venture pitch. However, such critical analyses are the only way to improve the idea and the communication of the product. Being open to change and understanding that one does not have all of the answers is a quality I would look for in an entrepreneur.
Understanding that I do not have all the answers and proceeding anyways is another important lesson I learned. Ventures are inherently risky because not everything will go to plan – projections are simply projections and there always seems to be the random element of “luck” found in timing and serendipitous events that separate successful ventures from unsuccessful ones.
Looking at the strengths and weaknesses of my pitch here is my reflection
I felt I made an engaging elevator pitch. I was happy with how it turned out and many of the comments on my venture posting seemed to support me on this. I did find it challenging to say everything I wanted to say within one minute but I found that helped me prioritize only the most critical and relevant information.
I felt the pitch was very honest with what I would actual do if I were trying to start this venture. I honestly don’t know how I would go about valuing my business and would seek a partner who would be able to help get this product to market and succeed. Money, although important, would not be my main consideration at this point – rather I would be more than willing to give up significant equity to someone who was equally passionate about the idea and could guide me through early stages of getting the venture up and running.
I feel I did a good job of articulating who I was and what my strengths were to investors. I feel that my enthusiasm and experience in education would make myself and the venture an attractive investment.
As seen by some of the comments in the venture posting, I believe I could have done a better job articulating possible revenue streams for LURNT. I had initially conceived of a start up with a quick exit strategy that wasn’t focussed on revenue or profitability. Instead I was looking at Facebook, reddit and other Internet ventures with the focus on building a strong user base then selling the venture or being acquired and letting another business deal with monetizing the users.
I wish I had a stronger grasp on the numbers and business potential. While there are similar competing ventures (reddit, teacher currated LMSes, Khan academy) it was hard to find something exactly the same to confidently base numbers on. However, I find this will be the risk to a certain degree that all businesses will face.
Not all aspects of the business were thought through. I noticed that many of the commenters expressed reservations about having a self-moderated aggregator and discussion forum. In hindsight, I should also have thought about how Grade 4-12 students may not have the emotional maturity to handle such responsibilities. Managing to keep a respectful tone and environment, while ensuring that users feel that it is their voices being heard will be a fine line to tread and may require professional paid moderators.
Overall, I enjoyed working on this project. I think it has given me more confidence to perhaps become an educational entrepreneur if the right idea or opportunity presents itself.