Last month, 21212 Digital Accelerator and NXTP Labs joined forces to lead a Latin American invasion into Silicon Valley, taking with them a handful of startups to introduce to the U.S. tech ecosystem. The 21212 team brought five startups along for the ride, including Easyaula, a Brazil-based online marketplace for offline educational opportunities.
Easyaula launched at the beginning of this year and was born out of a problem faced by Diego Alvarez, company co-founder and CEO. Having worked as a software engineer for Google and Microsoft in the United States, Alvarez often ran into trouble getting the necessary training to do his job well. He spent hours with friends adding complementary skills to his repertoire, most of which were not included in his university’s curriculum. Alvarez told us, “The current education system does not prepare people to be successful anymore, and non-traditional education has been a powerful alternative in helping people achieve their professional and personal goals.”
Along with Victor Campos, Alvarez built Easyaula, following in large part the model created by Skillshare in the United States. The platform seeks to democratize non-traditional education by allowing people to learn virtually anything form anyone, whether acquiring core development skills to help one get a job at Google or simply picking up a few sushi-making tips.
Easyaula empowers people with tools and services that help them to monetize their expertise through classes, talks, courses and workshops. It helps these individuals to market their services digitally and find places to hold their classes, and the platform is set up for payments to be made online – an important feat in a Latin American locale. Students pay online via credit card or debit card, and funds are delivered to the instructor after the class has taken place, with Easyaula receiving a small commission. Though numbers of users and revenue information are not currently available, the company has experienced significant growth since its launch just seven months ago.
Alvarez, a computer engineer, told us a bit more about Easyaula, highlighting its execution in the Latin American market and letting us in on what’s next.
Emily Stewart: Your business model is largely a clone of Skillshare. How have you had to adapt the model for Latin America?
Diego Alvarez: We began very inspired by Skillshare, but then we realized that we needed to put our own Latin twist on the concept to make it work in Latin America. Today, we no longer consider ourselves a copycat of Skillshare, and we’ve made numerous adaptations.
Beyond enabling individuals to offer classes, Easyaula wants to be the online presence of small local schools, which don’t have the resources and expertise to sell spaces online or offer online classes.
Moreover, for offline classes, we help teachers to find venues to run the classes. They are able to rent a place directly through Easyaula and pay with the earnings of the class. Skillshare’s users have to deal with all the hassle of finding a place, figuring out a schedule, negotiating pricing and paying the rent in advance.
Easyaula collects payments and pays the teacher only after the class has happened. At Skillshare, teachers get paid every time someone buys a ticket, even before the class has taken place. Likewise, teachers at Easyaula can define a minimum attendance for the class. If the number of students does not reach the minimum attendance requested, the class is canceled and the money paid is refunded to the students with no cost to anyone. We are also doing some experiments with online classes, but the model will definitely be different from Skillshare, in which classes are live streamed and project based. We would go with video classes.
ES: What have been the details of getting your online payment platform set up?
DA: We currently offer an online payment platform, which we have integrated with a Brazilian gateway called Moip (money over IP). We have performed deep integration through Moip’s APIs in order to automate most of our payment and student registration process, which has been fairly straight-forward.
ES: How do you plan to scale Easyaula? What locales will you head to next?
DA: Our strategic roadmap for scaling Easyaula entails expanding geographically, raising our subjects offer, tackling corporate training and gaining global reach with video classes, in Portuguese for Brazil, and in Spanish for Latin America as a whole.
Easyaula has numerous factors playing in its favor – a thoughtful Latin American execution, an online payment system, U.S. connections, etc. Whether it will be able to take full advantage of these elements, only time will tell.