Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Don’t be afraid to change your roadmap, even if it means that some work was for nothing

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Sabine Elsässer
Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

StudySmarter e-learning solutions for students with top-notch instruction and personalized programs

Please introduce yourself and your startup StudySmarter to our readers!
StudySmarter integrates innovative technologies like Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning into the learning process. The intelligent StudySmarter algorithm automatically generates Smart Studying Content such as Mind-Maps, Summaries and Quizzes. Additionally, we aim to boost learning motivation and fun through comprehensive gamification and statistic features. Thus, we provide support throughout all phases of the learning process.

StudySmarter is going to be a member of the next batch in the Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator in Berlin. The team consists of over 15 passionate students and you can find our prototype at www.StudySmarter.de

How did you get the idea to StudySmarter?
The advancement of technology has changed all aspects of our world, yet education has remained remarkedly identical. Only the display medium has changed in our learning process in the last decades, with the core activities staying the same.

We are students ourselves and have encountered the problems of students in Germany first-hand. Through our entrepreneurship background from programs such as Manage&More (UnternehmerTUM) and CDTM, we worked on a comprehensive approach to solve these issues and provide real value to the 3 million students in Germany.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
Through our aforementioned network in the Munich start-up scene, we were lucky to find an ideal team of four Co-Founders with different backgrounds and expertise, covering all important aspects of StudySmarter.

So while finding the right team was not major hurdle, we were faced by two major obstacles. As students, we possessed very limited means to invest in our start-up and had to adopt a very lean start-up culture based on zero-expenses. Through this approach, we were able to develop a prototype, spending less than 500 Euros. Additionally, until we could demonstrate our first prototype, we were met by heavy doubts concerning the technical feasibility of our product. Prior to our prototype we used mock-ups and videos to demonstrate our solution and engage in conversation with experts and potential partners.

The next challenging step consists of reinforcing our team with a Co-Founder with responsibilities for Marketing and Sales. This is turning out to be more difficult than expected. So if you know someone who might be interested, give us a call.

Who is your target audience?
As a e-Learning platform we are addressing the needs of all university students.

What is the USP of your startup?
StudySmarter has two distinct competitive advantages in the market. First, we are the technology leader in the field of education, being the first to actively integrate Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning and Big Data Analytics into the learning experience.

Secondly, we differentiate ourselves through our holistic support throughout the learning process. StudySmarter is not solely focused on content creation and the ensuing increase in studying efficiency, but also uses statistic and gamification features to motivate students and make learning a more social experience. Complementing this approach, we are also supporting students finding the right internship and potential employer.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
As with most early-stage start-up, we don’t really have a typical workday. The Co-Founders Till and Simon are predominantly concerned with the continued development of our platform, while Christian spends his day meeting partner companies, universities and potential investors as well as conceptualising the company’s strategy. Starting from September we are going to work in the Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator in Berlin!

Where do you see yourself and your startup StudySmarter in five years?
In five years our start-up is going to become the market leader in e-learning solutions for students across Europe, with millions of active users. Additionally, we aim to establish ourselves as a major voice and contributor for the digitalization strategy of European universities. To ensure this, we want to work closely with universities and politicians to guarantee the best possible university experience for all students.

We aim to not only revolutionize the learning process of university students, but of all learners. Hence, we aim to expand beyond universities into schools as well as companies, aiding for instance in the training of employees.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Talk to everyone in the market and get as much feedback as you can, even if you disagree with them.
Don’t be afraid to change your roadmap, even if it means that some work was for nothing.
Don’t follow the easiest path, if it’s easy its most likely not innovative.

More information you will find here

Thank you for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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