Education startup finds success in an unlikely market
When friends Paul Kim (29) and Gareth Heuer (27) started and self-funded Qurio, they hoped the web-based assessment tool meant to assist teachers and lecturers carry out assessments, mark tests and homework would be a success.
What they didn’t expect was how well it would do in the SME space as a tool for entrepreneurs to obtain feedback from customers about products or services, or from employees about the work environment.
The start of startup success
Kim who has a background in actuarial science, together with Heuer who has experience in marketing, became entrepreneurs after completing their studies in 2008. They duo says they knew they wanted to build something that would help fix the South African education crisis.
“Gareth and I were both passionate about doing something in education and decided to partner to see what we could come up with,” Kim says, who should have been an actuary had he not been bitten by the startup bug.
After much research, Kim and Heuer spotted a gap in the education testing and assessment arena.
“Aggregating and marking tests and homework is extremely time-consuming and exhaustive; we really wanted to simplify that process,” Kim says.
In 2012 Qurio was officially launched, and is currently based at LaunchLab in Stellenbosch University.
“We want to reduce the time it takes to get results so that more time can be spent taking action on those results”
Teachers or employers can share their unique Qurio code with the respondents via email, SMS, web or social media, allowing them to submit answers via any device with an internet connection.
Changing the way businesses do business
Kim says Quiro is being used by SMEs as a data gathering too as many of them don’t have the budget or necessary personnel or departments to perform this function.
“Qurio is not only be simpler, but cost-effective,” he says. The startup was taken off beta early this year and has started earning revenue from around 30 clients, most of which are SME organisations.
Apart from the free monthly account, the site charges between R100 and R500 per month. Each package comes with its own perks, for example educators get 50% off, and the business models come with the option of personalised branding.
“What makes Qurio different to competitors like Survey Monkey and Zoomerang is that we are a local startup, so it’s easier for clients to get in touch with us or for us to customise surveys for them.
“There also isn’t anyone doing anything similar in South Africa.”
Looking ahead Kim says the goal is for Qurio to own the local market and to be the go to platform for organisations and individuals looking to have their their questions answered, from NGOs, enterprises, education institutions, event organisers and media houses.
“Qurio aims to change the way and speed with which businesses go from the point of gathering data to the point of making actionable decisions.
“We want to reduce the time it takes to get results so that more time can be spent taking action on those results,” he adds.
Kim’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:
- Let your ideas get attacked by the best guys you know – There are things you can learn before spending lots of time and money on an idea.
- Don’t take things personally – Ideas are a dime a dozen and they will change over time but make sure you have a business philosophy to contain your ideas in.
- Ask yourself these questions – How are you going to treat employees, who are you going to raise funds from, what is the importance of profit, why are you going to build a company?