MinuteSkill's three co-founders came up with an idea for a startup. Once they laid out their plan, they faced one big hurdle. Then, after finding Slidebean's videos, the startup from Toronto managed to raise $225,000. Plus, the lessons don't end there.
This journey to raising capital includes facing many challenges familiar to founders. Also, it forced the co-founders into hard decisions, ones they felt comfortable taking.
MinuteSkill was born to educate an audience that has ever-dwindling attention spans. It is a continuous learning platform that delivers point-of-need learning with short videos. So, users can learn with short, minute-long videos that can weave into longer content.
Behind MinuteSkill are Nathan Knight, Tanika McLeod, and Camila Castaldo. They wanted to revolutionize learning, and the pandemic inspired them. As the world was in lockdown, digital learning took off, but there were areas for improvement.
"Tiktok was exploding," Camila explained. "This new content, where a lot of information comes in less than a minute, was trending."
More and more people became used to the idea of shorter content. So, watching a 10-minute video can seem dreadful. This becomes a challenge as most online classes last this long or even longer. The three decided to create a learning platform that integrated social media. Content would come in minute-long videos, like TikTok, Reels, and YouTube shorts.
"MinuteSkill is a mobile-first app where you consume bite-size videos that can connect across a series to teach you about a broader topic. Plus, you can connect with people like on a social network", Tanika McLeod explained. "It also provides the reliability and structure of e-learning."
MinuteSkill raised $225,000 in pre-seed capital but getting there wasn't an easy ride. The co-founders had the idea, but they came to a quick realization.
"What the fuck do we do?" Tanika McLeod recalled saying. "What the fuck are we doing?" The founders needed guidance to understand complex and straightforward terms alike.
"We had to upskill fast," she explained. "We had no idea what a Cap Table was, things like that." So, the three co-founders turned to the web, and that's how they found Slidebean. Through the videos, they found the information to up-skill at a fast pace.
While the cofounders faced this challenge, on Slidebean’s behalf, Minuteskill was a great match, according to Slidebean’s project manager Lucía Barrantes.
“MinuteSkill was a customer with well-established branding”, Lucía explained. “Plus, they were clear about what they wanted for the redesign, so for us, it was easy to understand what they were looking for and deliver accordingly.”
Also, MinuteSkill was a fan of Slidebean’s content and this was a huge motivator for both sides.
"Slidebean's content allowed us to cover the steps we needed to advance. We saw case studies on other startups and how we could relate to their experiences", McLeod added.
One of the biggest learnings that MinuteSkill got out of the videos is how to approach the pre-seed round. It's not always about having the entire product figured out.
"A lot of people don't know that the later rounds are product and revenue-based. Going to a pre-seed rounds, you have to have a strong team", McLeod commented. "You have to be able that you can pitch. There's a lot of things that aren't as common as people think."
The Slidebean videos also allowed MinuteSkill to understand when was the right time to decide. In every startup's life, there's the importance of pivots. In MinuteSkill's situation, it was no less challenging when to make the decision. The difference was that they had the knowledge from the videos.
"The word pivot draws up a lot of attention. It is an essential part for startups in which it comes that decision with you stick, with it, or pick it. We've pivoted a lot in our experience."
"With our previous ideas, we were afraid of pivots. Early on, we felt like that meant we weren't doing things right. A lot of entrepreneurs might feel that way", she explained. "But with MinuteSkill, we were more confident to make those pivots. We understood that they're a necessary part of the business."
With the newfound funding, the startup had the confidence to carry on. Now, it had to tackle even more significant challenges in its goal to expand its platform.
"One of the things that we're working on right now is how to curate our creators. That's part of the reason why we actually reached out to Slidebean."
"Slidebean's content has informed our journey for years, literally years. It's helped us get to this point", McLeod added. "We want a space where entrepreneurs can go and find reliable content like Slidebean's to help them execute on their businesses faster."
This step in the process is vital for MinuteSkill. Plus, the future is promising. First, the startup will participate in a Demo Day with Antler in June. From there, the founders also want to be a part of Collision.
The company has an app out now and there are a lot of promising signs. MinuteSkill's experience includes working with entrepreneurs and accelerators to partnering with different content providers. So, the startup has what it takes to tackle the shaping process in the following months. It plans to become the central network for continuous learning for entrepreneurs in no time.
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