Classroom.tv, an online educational business founded by Eduardo Abeliuk, a native Chilean, is an up and coming online educational startup bringing free educational opportunities to Latin populations around the world.
Abeliuk, now a Silicon Valley resident, had the idea of creating free online courses from prestigious U.S. universities, and making them available to Latins around the world, while he was still completing his graduate studies at Stanford University. He shared this idea with a friend and fellow Chilean, Nicolas Velasco, who jumped onboard and became Abeliuk’s venture partner. After completing his graduate work, Nicolas returned to Chile in 2012 and opened the International offices for Classroom.tv there. Today, the company employs 18 people and is quickly expanding in both national and international markets.
“We help educational institutions develop and grow their online learning platforms. At first we only focused on upper education, working with several universities; helping them move their conventional courses to a new online platform. Today, we work with education institutions of all types; helping them restructure their courses and offer them online in both educational and corporate environments. Our goal is to minimize the void between Academic learning and the real world training needs the corporate world has,” says Abeliuk. Funding for Classroom.tv comes from a mix of personal capital, angel investor funds, and a subsidy offered by the government of Chile.
The platform offers approximately 10,000 free educational courses, mostly from Universities such as Yale, Stanford, PUC, University of Chile and others. However, Classroom.tv also works directly with universities and educational institutions to develop their own internal online educational platform.
His personal experience at Stanford, has given Abeliuk insight into the online educational needs for corporations and educational institutions. It is this knowledge that allows him to guide other universities and schools into this online realm. He goes on to say,
“An education institution has many different facets; just one of these is the ability to impart knowledge. When it comes to online education, another important feature of the platform allows for a teacher or facilitator to give students feedback. Additional complexities come from restructuring a traditional class into online content in such a way that it offers a clear and understandable message. The fact is that online courses can be isolated, so it’s necessary to add that social component; these then allow both students and facilitators or teachers to communicate with each other, over online platform,” notes Abeliuk.
Initially, the business started out as one similar to that of SAS, but as our needs progressed, but was later evolve as the needs of the institutions:
“We found that many educational institutions needed to digitalize a particular course, but in such a way that it would create more engagement. It is important that schools have access to online platforms, but also access to complimentary services that guarantee a better audience interaction with their online courses and projects,” says Abeliuk.
For instance, one of the Classroom.tv associates helps the corporate world create online training courses that present information in a more functional way. This way inductees can assimilate and use the information in a more concise and functional way.
“The companies we work with are multinational and/or are associated with Latam industries. Through the use of our platform, our corporate customers can order the content they need from our Knowledge Management system. By using our services, corporations can create and distribute their educational material, both internally and externally. Ultimately, this coursework can be either certified, or non-certified,” says Nicolas Velasco.
Having achieved success in current markets, Eduardo Abeliuk and Nicolas Velasco plan on expanding operations into Colombia and Brazil: “Brazil is a very attractive and challenging market, one we project will expand our current business and educational market substantially. Even so, this is a market we’ll explore carefully because of its complexity,” says Abeliuk.
How does the current startup boom affect you and the online educational industry?:
“This new boom is good for our industry, as it’s placed more focus on an area that has lacked tech interest and investment for years. This boom helps us offer our product, without it seeming to be too far “out there.” This will allow us to explore new ways of sharing online education in the different sectors. In a large market with exponential yearly growth, new participants are a welcome sight.”
This text has been adapted and translated from its original Spanish publication.