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WHY YOU SHOULD START AN EDUCATION
STARTUP
BY ARIEL DIAZ FOUNDER AT BOUNDLESS
#TFSPECIAL
TheFamily


code: lamifasisi
WIFIWIFI
DISAGREE ON TWITTER!
#TFSPECIAL
#TFSPECIAL
WHY YOU SHOULD START AN EDUCATION
STARTUP
ARIEL DIAZ
FOUNDER OF BOUNDLESS
@ARIELDIAZ
Ariel Diaz - @arieldiaz
Serial Entrepreneur
Education: A paradoxical market
About Me
Mom
Dad
Miami
Dartmouth
Study
Work
Work
Boston
NYC
Scenario
TM
BOUNDLESS
recatalyze
World Bank Photo - CC-BY-NC-ND
Education
World Bank Photo - CC-BY-NC-ND
Why Education?
MassiveImportant Fulfilling
Education
Why Education?!
Aaron Gilson - CC-BY-ND
Education’s
unique
challenges
Long sales cycle
Decision makers are conservative because stakes are so high
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Jan Feb Mar Apr May J...
Complex and long product feedback cycle
Traditional rapid product development
iteration is measured in weeks (or
months)
W...
Region/Community - Tax Payers
District - Government Officials
School - Administrators
Classroom - Teacher
Student
Classroom...
Education has uniquely
Complex + Long
Sales + Product Cycles
Why Education?!
BOUNDLESS
Consumers:
Students
19 million students, spending
~$1,000 per year
Dictate
Choices
Decision Makers:
Faculty + Profs
No pri...
Result: Textbooks prices (in U.S.) growing at 3X inflation
[with 65% gross margins!]
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
1980 1985 19...
Let’s fix it!
PublishersProfessor Student
The “consumerization” of education
Vision:
Replace textbooks with free online textbooks,
sold directly to students
Content Product
Go to Market
1 - Content: Replace textbooks
Accounting Business
Communications Finance
Management Marketing
Art History Economics
Polit...
2 - Product: Online textbooks
Success!
We created award-winning online textbook, study, and
publishing platform
‣ Product positioning hard for students to believe - ‘what’s the catch’
‣ Student segments didn’t fit product:
‣ Product ef...
Updated solution: replace textbooks for educators
Current status: positioned well, for the long game
1
2
3
4
5
6
Semester Spring ‘11 Fall ‘11 Spring ‘12 Fall ‘12 Spring ‘13...
Overcoming
these
challenges
Find or create a direct model
(if you can)
Find and ride macro trends
Reduce impact of seasonality
Ensure alignment between investors
and team
Education is hard…but important.
Thank you!
SEE YOU SOON!


LOVE.
THEFAMILY.CO

___
___
Scenario
TM
BOUNDLESS
recatalyze
Accounting Business
Communications Finance
Management Marketing
Art History Economics
Political
Science
Psychology
Algebra...
"Why you should start an education startup" by Ariel Diaz Founder of Boundless
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"Why you should start an education startup" by Ariel Diaz Founder of Boundless

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In France and in the United States, Education represents 5% of GDP, that's huge! However, dominated by non-for-profit structures and mentality, it’s a real challenging market.

We’re thrilled to welcome Ariel Diaz for this special event dedicated to education.

Founder and CEO of Boundless, a fast growing startup that creates and distributes on line free and low-cost textbooks, Ariel Diaz is an experienced entrepreneur with an incredible passion for improving the educational landscape for generations to come. Before Boundless, Ariel co-founded YouCastr, an online video platform that enabled hundreds of high schools to broadcast and sell live sports and other events to parents and the community.

Ariel will share his experience entering and working on the education market. He will talk about the opportunities he get and the challenges he faced ;)

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"Why you should start an education startup" by Ariel Diaz Founder of Boundless

  1. 1. WHY YOU SHOULD START AN EDUCATION STARTUP BY ARIEL DIAZ FOUNDER AT BOUNDLESS #TFSPECIAL
  2. 2. TheFamily 
 code: lamifasisi WIFIWIFI
  3. 3. DISAGREE ON TWITTER! #TFSPECIAL
  4. 4. #TFSPECIAL WHY YOU SHOULD START AN EDUCATION STARTUP ARIEL DIAZ FOUNDER OF BOUNDLESS @ARIELDIAZ
  5. 5. Ariel Diaz - @arieldiaz Serial Entrepreneur Education: A paradoxical market
  6. 6. About Me Mom Dad Miami Dartmouth Study Work Work Boston NYC Scenario TM BOUNDLESS recatalyze
  7. 7. World Bank Photo - CC-BY-NC-ND Education
  8. 8. World Bank Photo - CC-BY-NC-ND Why Education? MassiveImportant Fulfilling Education
  9. 9. Why Education?! Aaron Gilson - CC-BY-ND
  10. 10. Education’s unique challenges
  11. 11. Long sales cycle Decision makers are conservative because stakes are so high Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec School Year Adoption if key window is missed 6 month sales cycle with 1 window per year = 6-17 month effective cycle! One adoption window/year (maybe 2) Summertime sadness Key sales window
  12. 12. Complex and long product feedback cycle Traditional rapid product development iteration is measured in weeks (or months) Week 1 cohort Week 2 cohort Week 3 cohort Track metrics (e.g. engagement), create hypothesis to improve, build, roll out (assuming 2 week sprint) Week 4 cohort Review key metrics from Week 1 cohort learnings, compare cohorts Education product development iteration is measured in semesters (or years) Semester 1 Semester 2 Semester 3 Create your best guess on core features, set up many hypothesis in parallel, pray… Semester 4 Significantly harder to operate in a truly “lean” way
  13. 13. Region/Community - Tax Payers District - Government Officials School - Administrators Classroom - Teacher Student Classroom - Teacher Student Classroom - Teacher Student Classroom - Teacher Complex decision making and financial flows Student Parent(s) Decisions are made and influenced at every level, and likely different for each region, school, classroom, etc.
  14. 14. Education has uniquely Complex + Long Sales + Product Cycles Why Education?!
  15. 15. BOUNDLESS
  16. 16. Consumers: Students 19 million students, spending ~$1,000 per year Dictate Choices Decision Makers: Faculty + Profs No price sensitivity; aren’t primary purchaser Sales Efforts Content Creators: Publishers Spend ~$1 million to create a textbook Forced to spend $9.5B annually Source: Simba Research, Publishing executives, US Department of Education (U.S.) Textbook market is broken
  17. 17. Result: Textbooks prices (in U.S.) growing at 3X inflation [with 65% gross margins!] 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 Educational Books and Consumer Price Index (1982-1984 = 100) 3x Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
  18. 18. Let’s fix it! PublishersProfessor Student The “consumerization” of education
  19. 19. Vision: Replace textbooks with free online textbooks, sold directly to students Content Product Go to Market
  20. 20. 1 - Content: Replace textbooks Accounting Business Communications Finance Management Marketing Art History Economics Political Science Psychology Algebra Calculus Statistics World History Sociology U.S. History Anatomy & Physiology Biology Chemistry Microbiology Physics Writing Business STEM Liberal Arts Success! We created high quality modular content, in over 20 subjects for 10-100x cheaper and faster than traditional publishers
  21. 21. 2 - Product: Online textbooks Success! We created award-winning online textbook, study, and publishing platform
  22. 22. ‣ Product positioning hard for students to believe - ‘what’s the catch’ ‣ Student segments didn’t fit product: ‣ Product efficacy: Could help with learning, but not with “grade” ‣ Price difference shrunk with rental market expansion 3 - Go to Market: Direct to studentNot quite Resulted in a key strategic decision point: Create a better supplement (for students), or replace the textbooks (for educators)
  23. 23. Updated solution: replace textbooks for educators
  24. 24. Current status: positioned well, for the long game 1 2 3 4 5 6 Semester Spring ‘11 Fall ‘11 Spring ‘12 Fall ‘12 Spring ‘13 Fall ‘13 Spring ‘14 Fall ‘14 Spring ‘15 Fall ‘15 16 Company Milestone Founded, $1.7M seed $8M A-Round First Revenue # Subjects 3 8 21 25 Product Beta 1,0 2,0 Teaching Tools Beta Full Platform Educator Focus •Basic online reader •Full featured e- reader •iOS apps •Learning Tech •Premium •Customization •Teaching resources •Assignments •Publishing •Community •API integration •Expanded teacher tools •LMS integration •Deeper learning analytics •More robust Monthly Unique Visitors (millions) Boundless Usage
  25. 25. Overcoming these challenges
  26. 26. Find or create a direct model (if you can)
  27. 27. Find and ride macro trends
  28. 28. Reduce impact of seasonality
  29. 29. Ensure alignment between investors and team
  30. 30. Education is hard…but important. Thank you!
  31. 31. SEE YOU SOON! 
 LOVE. THEFAMILY.CO
 ___ ___
  32. 32. Scenario TM BOUNDLESS recatalyze
  33. 33. Accounting Business Communications Finance Management Marketing Art History Economics Political Science Psychology Algebra Calculus Statistics World History Sociology U.S. History Anatomy & Physiology Biology Chemistry Microbiology Physics Writing Business STEM Liberal Arts Solution: Replace textbooks with free online textbooks, sold directly to students Publisher s Professor Stude nt Student

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