Last year when Kim Munzo went to the Startup Weekend EDU event in Florida, she didn’t know what to expect. The career long educator had a problem and the solution, and with fingers crossed she hoped for the best. She had no idea what a ride it would be.
Munzo has worked in online education for the past 15 years. For those keeping score, that’s just about when online education became accepted as a legitimate source of education. In her position she found that there were a lot of people who dropped out. They get too busy, they get bored, and sometimes they just didn’t feel like continuing.
Munzo was at Everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference, we weren’t able to see much of her business. Fortunately, at Southland we found out the big picture behind this Florida startup.
Munzo developed an analytical system that can predict which online students are at risk of dropping out. An online student can elect to take one class, or a whole degree program online. Some students choose to get multiple degrees. At that rate, the tuition adds up and the revenue for online institutions is in play. A drop out, depending on the cost of their tuition and programs offered, can cost an institution up to tens of thousands of dollars.
AspirEDU lets online institutions know which students are at risk. Then the institution can follow up in a variety of ways. AspirEDU co-founder Kevin Kopas also told us that they are developing features that will automatically send online students at risk emails or text messages to get them re-engaged with their online education. The end result is less attrition for online institutions and students who finish their degrees and certifications.
Following a win at that Startup Weekend EDU event, AspirEDU started taking their show on the road, exhibiting at conferences, pitching in pitch contests, and submitting business plans for business plan competitions. All of those avenues proved to be great for the company.
AspirEDU won $25,000 in cash in the Best of Village pitch contest at Everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference I. After that they won the Florida Atlantic University business plan competition which included $55,000 in cash and services prizes. All of which came in handy for the bootstrapped startup. They also came in 7th place in a global business plan competition.
Although the entire team is still employed elsewhere full time, they are working 40-70 hours more per week on AspirEDU.
“I’m taking off from my day job to be here at Southland,” Kopas told us. Kopas works for a major domain name provider during the day, and dedicates all of his free time to AspirEDU, time he used to use to enjoy the waters of Florida.
AspirEDU is a certified partner with Canvas by Instructure and the team will be traveling to Utah next week to present in a conference with 9 other certified partners.
While the education space is filling up rapidly, there’s no other startup that is using analytics to help keep students enrolled. While it’s a great idea and great technology, the team is leery of taking an investment right now. They already have clients and some major deals with big institutions across the globe in the works. Munzo and Kopas are hoping that they can start creating substantial revenue and not have to give up any equity, at least in the short term.
An investor told us that anyone can make a $4 million dollar business; we want to hold off on an investment in case we need it to get to the $100 million dollar mark. That’s a good possibility with the online education industry counting for billions of dollars on a global scale.
Munzo and Kopas credit Startup Weekend and the people they’ve met while traveling all over the country to promote AspirEDU with where they’ve gotten thus far.
You can find out more about AspirEDU here at aspiredu.com and by watching the interview video below.