6 years ago

Hobnobbing with Aldo De Pape from TeachPitch

So, what does TeachPitch do?

TeachPitch is a cloud-based platform that helps teachers and schools with the discovery and management of the best online learning resources. Our team is continuously curating the internet for excellent online learning material and reorganising it into our library so that teachers can discover it more easily and compare their search results on educational parameters (age group, format, time to teach) that are important to them. Our library is accessible via a community technology that is currently being used by tens of thousands of teachers from over 130 countries.

We make our money by building dedicated TeachPitch systems for schools and learning institutions so they are able to discover the best available learning content combined with the raw learning material (think of videos, podcast, PPTs, Word docs, etc.) that they have available. Through our product every teacher in every school is continuously able to work with the best of online learning in one environment.

What’s behind the business idea?

It was our idea to resolve the ever-growing problem of information abundance caused by the very rapid growth of the internet and technology. The evolution of the web has given us infinite possibilities of choice which is great but the downside of this is that we are left with too many options –a too high a volume of links to plough through to identify the most relevant information at the right moment in time.

Our system serves as a shortcut for teachers to discover the most relevant online information on the level of learning. This problem does not only exist for individual teachers but also for schools and institutions that struggle to retain the best ’raw’ learning information they have generated or gathered. Think of PPTs, word docs, podcasts, video, pictures, etc. that is left on a variety of systems and servers that can be found all over a school. Our team builds dedicated TeachPitch systems for a school or institution so they can discover, manage and organise the best of online learning.

Was it hard becoming a business owner?

There are specific challenges you are going to need to deal with as many people in and around your organisation will want your time and attention and sometimes tend to think that you have all the answers – but hard work and the willingness to make it a success will take you a long way.

How did you recruit your employees?

Through a great variety of ways.

We are very proud to be working with a development team that operates from Tirana, the capital of Albania and also feel fortunate to be partnering with the Fast Stream Program of the British Civil Service that supports us with a Product Manager that ties together the needs of our clients with our product development plans.

Other than that we work in a tightly knit environment in the EdTech community where you get to know many people with an interest to work in the market.

Was there a breakthrough moment?

There have been a couple such as signing big contracts in the Middle East or becoming one of the best 50 tech companies in the UK with the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

But the biggest one thus far has been signing OneWorld, a leading Chinese Education company that licenses our technology to be used in over 500 schools in the East. Really great to be working with them and achieving such scale.

How is the company doing?

The company is doing well. We are a start-up so there are lots of moving targets but I feel very blessed that I have been working with a lot of people (from investors, to employees to clients) who believed from the very early start in what we are doing.

Do you have any regrets?

Not really. I try to be as open as I can in involving people in my thinking process so that people can follow how I got to a decision.

If I do have one regret, it might be that I sometimes am too nervous, too afraid I will miss out on a good business opportunity.

If so how did you overcome them?

I try to stay calm, put things in perspective and rely on the fact that everything will be okay.

What makes you stand out from your competitors?

We function as a global technology that works with its users as a search engine built on existing content that is created by others – not a national publisher with a stake to plug its own content to its users.

What is your definition of a positive customer experience?

The fact that our customers come back for more.

One of our clients told us recently that we were a million times better than the other product they had been using previously. That is really something great to hear.

You’re currently reaching out for investors, what do you plan to do when you have raised this funding?

We are currently raising investment to further scale our operations Eastwards so more teachers and schools can work with our platform and products.

In order to address the new, growing demand for our product we need to have the right resources and people in place who can help us realise and overachieve our commercial targets.

If you could help a business now with a single piece of advice, what would it be?

Spend as little money as possible. Running a business is a marathon not a sprint and you are in it for the long haul so be as careful with your budget as you can be. Don’t be tempted to spend money on things that are non-core to your business.

Finally, Aldo what is your favourite biscuit?!

Being Belgian I am a very big fan of the ‘Almond Thins’ of Jules De Strooper, they are very yummy and very addictive. I recommend them to anyone!