How JFDI Discover Team Teach!Mi Raised $140,000

Feb 17, 2016 Community, True Stories 0 comments

Just 7 months after enrolling in JFDI Discover, our startup GAMP Tech closed a $140k funding round for Teach!Mi. We want to change the way people learn and track their real knowledge, writes Teach!Mi cofounder Pavel Antonov.

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Teach!Mi cofounders Pavel Antonov and Mary Samoylova with JFDI Lean Coach Adrian Tan

7 months ago we had just one insight. We knew that the education system in most countries is dull and discouraging. We wanted to change this.

The four of us had had been working on logical AI (LAI) technology. To test it, we created models based on school geometry problems and it was able to solve many such, tasks showing the solution step-by-step. We saw the opportunity to apply our AI skills to education and decided to take the chance on a startup. It was both inspiring and a nightmare! We knew nothing and there was so much to discover, describe and decide.

For two weeks we worked on our first business idea using the Osterwalder business model canvas. Looking back, I am ashamed at the result but still it proved useful when we showed it to different Russian business angels. They gave us lots of criticism and advice. One suggested that we look at the Asia market because the level of competition among pupils is traditionally very high in the region.

It seemed a tempting idea yet full of pitfalls. How to explore a foreign market being thousands miles away? How to validate hypotheses and ideas? How to get in touch with potential customers? So many questions, so few answers.

Singapore is known for its startup ecosystem and high level of education so it was easy to choose as a starting point. But what to do next? It was very difficult to be on our own.

JFDI is a world-renowned startup accelerator and innovation leader in the Asia region. It had a pre-acceleration program for early-stage startups – JFDI Discover. During the program we learned that you become part of an energetic community, share your knowledge and experience, communicate, help each other, validate hypotheses and establish a business plan.

So we enrolled and things started to change rapidly. Our ideas and vision for both the business and the application became more and more mature and we gained confidence to make our first pivot. Thanks to JFDI Discover we understood what we could and should strive for.

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Yet we knew that our project was still raw. So our next stop was HSE{Inc}, a successful Russian startup accelerator that works with students and early-stage startups. Being well prepared by JFDI.Discover and gaining expertise from Russian investors and mentors, our vision evolved once again. We made a second, bigger pivot, deciding to focus on gamification. Our strong instinct was that effective education should not be boring and we are able to prove the value of making it engaging.

Today, Teach!Mi is a game-based mobile app aiming to help pupils, students and their parents to validate their knowledge leve, to address attainment gaps, to learn practical subjects by solving different tasks and to explore theoretical material. Three levels of difficulty, eight different task types, progress tracking, hints and ever-increasing number of themes are all possible. On top of that you can set goals, take part in events and challenge with friends. It is an appealing pocket tutor available wherever and whenever you want. Moreover, soon parents will be able to help their children with homework using the “Solve” module. It provides solution for customized tasks (or exams) within seconds with logical step by step explanation.

JFDI Discover allowed us to get from just an idea to a project which recently attracted first SGD140,000 of investment. This means Teach!Mi will be released later this year and we will change the world in a small way!

 

What’s Next

We very much hope it will be the JFDI Accelerate program. If one wants to develop business in Asia rapidly, there is nothing better than JFDI – Asia’s # 1 Startup Accelerator.

There are so many things that a startup must do and so many things that first-timers don’t know. Anyone starting on this journey should know that sometimes, you will lose heart but— in the end— you know it’s worth it.

For articles related to Teach!Mi, check this feature story and this startup list.

 

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