Author: José María Lucía Moreno
The education industry is facing an unavoidable transition from traditional printed formats to digital formats and contents. At the same time parents still encounter difficulties in assessing which educational solutions are most suitable for their children’s´age and profile. Devoting too much time and money purchasing educational materials due to market segmentation and having trouble accessing experts to solve the challenges they face raising their children.
Schools are also experiencing trouble in the transition towards digital educational solutions. In addition to other “practical” challenges they have such as generating new sources of income; simplifying text books´ prescription process, buying and selling of educational materials and increasing their offering.
To address all these challenges the goal of Mi Mochila Digital, is to be the 1st Educative Integrated Platform in Spain of products, services and educational contents with artificial intelligence algorithms generating recommendations adapted to every child´s profile.
Where did you get the idea?
As Education Managing Director at SM Spain, one of the main text book publishers in the market, and Managing Director of its Peruvian branch, I gained a broad knowledge of both the Spanish and LATAM educative markets and their challenges, needs and opportunities.
I decided to lead an innovative educational project giving answer to some of the challenges parents and schools were facing.
How long have you been working on the idea?
We started working on the idea 16 months ago and launched Mi Mochila Digital in June 2013
How does the business work?
Mi Mochila Digital works as an integrated model operating through 4 complementary channels:
B2C (www.educandoo.com ): addressed directly to parents of children aged 3-17
B2B2C (www.mimochiladigtial.es ): selling to parents through schools’ virtual stores developed and operated by Mi Mochila Digital.
B2B2C (www.mimochiladigtial.es ): selling to parents through Corporate Employee Benefits Programs
B2B: acting as a “virtual operator” for specialized retailers.
Besides these, Mi Mochila Digital is developing 4 solution areas adaptable and suitable to diverse users profile and needs, with different development focus depending on the operating channel: storage and distribution of educational contents, a users community, a highly specialized search engine and artificial intelligence to help children realize their full potential (educative bios and adapted recommendations) and optimize parents´ investment.
What is the business model?
At the moment revenues result of the margin scheme applied to sales through our diverse stores. In practice we are a marketplace.
What kinds of investors does the company have?
We have completed our seed series with founders, family and friends.
What is the stage of project now?
All four channels are active and generating revenue. We are planning a A series for the end of the year.
What have you learned from your experience as entrepreneurs?
I spent several years as “in-company entrepreneur” leading the R+D+i department at SM, now I am leading my own star-up, in both cases and in general terms, I rank as my first lessons the necessity to set up a high performance team. An excellent business with a non performing team fails for sure. A not so good business project with a high performance team can still make the difference!
Second lesson: Once in the market, be quick to adapt the response to your customer and fulfill his necessities and expectations. Let your customers be the commanders of the future of your business!
What are you most excited about the project at the moment?
The scope of growing possibilities that appear before us.
What are the most difficult parts of entrepreneurship?
At this moment, finding the funding necessary to grow business and the balance between this activity and the daily running of the company
In your opinion, what are the most important personality traits to be a successful entrepreneur?
Endurance as Sir Ernest Shackleton said regarding his legendary expedition to the Antartic, one of the greatest survival stories of all time, luckily Spain is a much warmer place! 😉
And as some of my colleagues in Area 31 have previously pointed out: the ability to sell, your vision, your product, your company…
Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you had the chance?
Yes of course many things, for sure starting earlier developing the project!. It took me too long from having the idea to the effective start up of the project.
What new understanding since you started has had the most impact on your original plan?
Originally the project had a bigger focus on digitalization of educative materials in Spain. After our first back-to-school campaign, we had to leverage the focus between digital content and traditional paper-based content as a revenue generator. We couldn’t wait for digitalization to start generating profits!
What advice would you like to give to potential entrepreneurs?
The three P’s: Patience, Persistence and Positive mind.