Kris

Krzysztof Marszałek

rst-it.com

Hi Stuart, can you tell our readers what your startup is about?

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Stuart Coleman

EduVee

EduVee provide personalised online educational resources to students for high stakes exams, so they can ace their exams.

by Krzysztof Marszałek — 28 AUG 2015

What tools do you use to monitor your app’s performance and users’ activity?

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EduVee

In terms of general tools, we are pretty standard here. Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Facebook analytics. But we do collect a lot of our own data, which we index into Elasticsearch and analyze with Kibana. That has been really powerful in terms of visualising where people drop off, what they are doing and where our content creation is weak.

How do you collect early adopters’ feedback? Do you talk with them personally or use online forms?

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EduVee

Both! I think one thing I can't stress enough is getting user feedback early on and it was perhaps one of our biggest mistakes to only collect online form data. Online form data is really useful at a macroscopic level, but nothing quite beats sitting with a user and seeing them use your product. Often what they think are their issues are not really. Only when you sit with them as they are actually doing a task, do you see the painpoints. A clear example of this for us was our search functionality. We had never imagined how much trouble users were having finding resources until we sat with them in person.

What do you think about England / London startup scene? How has it evolved over the past few years?

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EduVee

That is a really interesting question. Having spent time in an accelerator in San Francisco has given me quite a different perspective on London than before I went. Overall, to me London investors feel a lot more revenue focused than their counterparts in San Fran, and I haven't really seen that change over the last couple of years. In San Fran, they are definitely backing the team and realise that you are pretty much at the origin in terms of where your comany is. One thing that surprised me the other way is it is probably easier to hire great talent in London than in SF, where the competition (and salaries) are unbelievable.

How did you assume there is space for EduVee on the UK startup market?

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EduVee

We had all worked in education in some capacity beforehand, though not necessarily at the right level, so we knew there was a gap for students who wanted to study outside of the classroom. Students were still predominantly using BBC Bitesize in the UK and in the USA there was not even an equivalent to that, as resources were mostly provided by the test prep companies. We checked that by speaking to lots of teachers and students!

Will you charge for using the app from day one or are you going to offer a freemium version? Why?

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EduVee

We are using a Freemium model. The reason for us is simple - data! We need to collect a lot of data to drive our personalisation engine and freemium is the best way to go about that. It was also always part of our mission statement to provide high quality educational resources to all children not just the ones who can afford it.

Cost-wise, was outsourcing to a Polish company (RST IT) a good move? Can you tell how much it cost you to develop an MVP?

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EduVee

Definitely, it was a big saving for us, both timewise and costwise. We needed to get an app out for exam season and gearing an in house dev team to do that in the timescale would have sucked too much energy out of the rest of the product. Costwise, it was more costly than outsourcing further afield but having worked with Indian outsource before, there were two key differentiators: the design work was of much higher quality and communication was a lot better

What factors did you take into consideration while deciding on the technology choice for your startup? Did anybody help you with that?

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EduVee

I think personally a lot too much thought goes into this upfront. Technology moves so fast now that you will have to iterate very quickly on your initial choice. As long as you architect your system well so that it is not too monolithic, I don't think the explicit technology stack makes a huge difference.

What online management tools can you recommend to other startups?

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EduVee

Slack and Trello have become pretty integral to us. Being a small team we often have people out of the office and working remotely. Slack is just such an easy way to share docs and ideas in one place that it has been a huge aid. Trello has been great as a lightweight product management tool. It allows the dev team to stay really focused on what they are currently working on and communicating that to the rest of the team, whilst allowing the rest of the team to log issues.

Thanks for the interview, Stuart.

Questions? Comments? If you are considering launching your own tech startup, feel free to drop us a line below or pop me an email at k@rst-it.com. We're ready to help.

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