George Burgess, a 21-year-old Stanford dropout has become one of the youngest founders who have secured the backing of Index Ventures, raising $1m of seed funding to introduce his new education platform Gojimo. Interestingly, Burgess has been entrepreneurially-spirited since the age of 15, when he was already a power seller on eBay and co-founded a film production business.
Then before graduating from high school in 2009, the young entrepreneur was already working his way into filling industry gaps. Realising that there were only a few quality apps available for students in the App Store, Burgess started his first startup, EducationApps, which released an app that helps students prepare for GCSE and A-level exams.
Today, the company pioneers in the field of mobile learning, as it is one of the most thriving mobile learning companies in the world.
How Burgess Made it to Raise Money
It is astonishing how a 17-year-old made it to build up such a robust startup in no time without substantial capital resources and coding skills to develop apps. Well, thanks to his resourcefulness and drive Burgess smartly went through his network and requested intros from people who has good networks with the venture capital world. He says that “I spent most of my summer delivering Dragon Den style pitches on a daily basis and in July we were offered a term sheet by Index Ventures. From there it was just a matter of convincing a few angels to join the round”.
In addition to this, he received incredible support from close family members: “During my gap year I was able to raise a small amount of money from friends and family and used that to hire our first full time iOS developer in London. If we hadn't been able to do that we wouldn't have got anywhere - we were relying on foreign freelancers before”.
The Gojimo app
In 2013, Burgess decided it was time to take mobile learning to the next level and started producing Gojimo, the all-in-one learning platform that offers quality academic content as well as enables students to interact with their peers and teachers. The app boasts the advantage of providing content geared for US and UK qualifications and exams, a feature that not all similar education apps offer.
A new version that will be launched in April will enable teachers to track student progress, send assignments and even issue quizzes in the classroom.
Gojimo’s new platform is free to download with optional in-app purchases that can be filtered by subject or qualification. It also offers a more general, global catalog search tool.
Burgess Learned More From Running Gojimo Rather Than the University
The young entrepreneur argues that the experience of running Gojimo was more useful than studying at the university. He adds that “the business has changed a lot over the last four years. It started out as a small project and now it's a high growth startup. In between it was more of a lifestyle business, as we went from publisher to publisher building bespoke apps around their content”.
Contemplating the future, the ambitious CEO aspires to make Gojimo “the number one provider of educational resources for students”. During the past year, the company experienced more than a quarter of a million downloads on iOS and the number is expected to massively rise over the next year.
On the whole, Burgess’ story reveals that having a vision, finding niches to solve problems and gaps in the market as well as making the most of the resources and the people that make up your network are paramount elements for long-term success.
Image Source: The Telegraph