“Acámica is the educational platform we would have liked to have when we were studying,” started Tomás Escobar, creator of the successful and controversial Cuevana.tv, who now, along with Gonzalo Orsi, Ignacio Puig Moreno and Juan Badino, is developing a new platform that will revolutionize learning. The project will be accelerated by Wayra this year.
The concept behind Acámica is based on new trends in education that focus less on vertical learning and concrete knowledge in one area (traditional university structure) and more on knowledge that is horizontal, transversal and concise across various themes. Moreover, the company has been designed to fit the exact needs of each student in a way that is fun and in tune with current-day rhythms.
“It is directed at those looking to learn about computer science and advanced technologies (programming, design, game development, mobile app development) as well as those wanting to learn about and brush up on business skills oriented towards entrepreneurship, communication and online marketing, all of which are changing the world. Users can do all of this without leaving their couches, or while they’re on vacation, and for a very competitive price, including free content sponsored by leading companies,” Escobar explained.
Learning via Acámica takes place via three mechanisms: videos, tests and challenges. The startup is already working on a new version of its platform, which will include exclusive content and complete courses for the next generation of workers. The first version has been online since April; however, the idea actually originated at Startup Weekend Buenos Aires in July 2012, and the startup team was formed in September.
In February 2013, the members of the Acámica team left their jobs to dedicate themselves to their new endeavor full-time. The team has experience in other online projects, such as Cuevana.tv (Escobar), and in digital marketing as well. Escobar clarified, “It is a nice combination that has allowed us to rethink education to help people to rediscover that learning new things every day can be fun, not to mention completely necessary to remain up-to-speed with the velocity of change today.”
Overthrowing the System
The leitmotif of the Acámica platform is ramified micro-education, a consistent break from how traditional education works today. Escobar elaborated, “It’s a total deconstruction of the current education system. We want to offer people the opportunity to learn based on their needs and interests, modeling and orienting their education according to what they’re most passionate about.”
For example, a person interested in developing mobile applications can learn immediately, without waiting four years to see a line of code (as often occurs in traditional education). He or she may then adapt complementary and needed knowledge to perfect the skills acquired or move on to other themes. Each individual chooses his or her own path.
The project is conceived for Latin America in its entirety. “As a region, not only do we have potential, but also an unmatched opportunity for the next creators of successful technology projects to come from here. The market is in need of quality education in new technologies like never before, and we’re working to make that happen, reducing costs at least 10% from where they are right now,” said Escobar.
Since its launch, Acámica has managed to double its user base each month. The team is now validating its proposal. Escobar noted, “There is a lot of room for improvement. We’re in the process of creating new content and bringing on board two Latin American technology companies interested in offering free content.”
Escobar also revealed to PulsoSocial that Rebeca Hwang, CEO and co-founder of YouNoodle , has joined the Acámica advisory board. He remarked, “Together, we are preparing all of the new things that will be available on Acámica in the medium and long term in order to disembark in Brazil and in mobile.” The startup is also seeking its first investment round.