EduTech start-up 1Scope has obtained a $1 million investment from Aqualand Capital ahead of its launch in August. Founder and CEO Christina Chun spoke to Dynamic Business about her online platform, which enables companies, universities and not-for-profits to promote, manage and review the professional development opportunities they offer students.
Dynamic Business: What motivated you to start 1Scope?
Chun: I am passionate about the difference a quality education can make in life. I started 1Scope to provide students aged 12 to 25 with equal access to relevant character- and skill-building opportunities, which are often difficult for them to come by. I believe this is the first step to levelling the playing field, and acting on just one opportunity can potentially set a student’s life on a new trajectory. We’ve been working on the 1Scope platform for less than a year and have been in beta version since November 2016.
DB: How does the platform work for its users?
Chun: 1Scope allows students to establish a profile as well as search, apply for and evaluate professional development opportunities including training programs, conferences, scholarships and competitions. The process is done via a secure end-to-end platform, which verifies students and institutions.
From the student perspective, the platform is a search, browse, evaluation and application tool. From the institutional perspective, it is an opportunity management program to improve operational efficiency as well as a data analytics platform that reveals student behaviours in respect of their programs.
DB: What pain points does the platform address?
Chun: Students are currently inhibited by a lack of knowledge about what’s available to them outside of formal channels. Current systems are ad-hoc and imperfect, which often results in students going into jobs/programs purely at the suggestion of a friend, relative or teacher rather than with a first-hand insight into a career in that field. The result is an unnecessary changeover of students across courses and higher drop-out rates from high school, university or TAFE, than would be the case if students were better informed and experienced.
1Scope resolves this by allowing all students with a simple web connection to access a single secure platform which contains all opportunities available to them. This empowers them to have direction and expertise in the areas they wish to explore, prior to, and following graduation. We hope this will facilitate them in developing a career and education path earlier, rather than later when it may be too late.
For employers, 1Scope will help to equip students with the right education and skills for their jobs and more efficient allocation of their resources.
For institutions (companies, universities and NFPs), they simply need to create an account and a company profile. From here, the 1Scope team will work closely with them to understand the opportunity to be delivered, develop a project scope to increase the value to be provided on the platform, and further assist them along the way where needed. We are committed to bringing on board all youth-related programs across Australia and by working with key stakeholders, measure outcomes that can be used to drive program improvement, the development of new programs, or to simply facilitate decision making moving forward.
DB: What is the start-up’s business model?
We’re currently in beta phase, so right now, 1 Scope is free for students, not for profits and corporates to use. We will always be free for students, but we were developed to operate for a profit. We are currently determining the right revenue model for corporates and not for profits to make their opportunities available on the platform.
DB: What attracted Aqualand Capital to 1Scope?
Chun: They were impressed by the potential of 1Scope to make a difference to the adults of tomorrow by filling a gap in the market in creating opportunity for today’s students to access opportunities to develop their skills beyond their traditional school and university education.
DB: What support will the company provide you?
Chun: The Aqualand team will provide support across finance, legal and marketing. This is really valuable to me as a young entrepreneur and for my team. It will help us ensure the business is set up for success.
DB: How will you use their $1 million investment?
Chun: We are committed to a) building a platform that can more effectively match students to opportunities, and b) working closely with companies so they can more effectively promote and manage their opportunities. To do this, we are constantly on the ground with our users and customers, from understanding their needs to solving their problems. The $1m investment will go towards fulfilling technology needs (development, servers and research) as well as business development. Our focus for the next 6 months is to build out the desktop/web version but an app is definitely in the works.
DB: How many users does 1Scope have so far?
Chun: We’re still only in our beta phase but currently we have the support of around 10 of Australia’s leading corporates and businesses including Morgan McKinley, Microsoft and Bendelta who are all making their opportunities available on the 1Scope platform. 1Scope also has the support of some of Australia’s leading Universities and education providers including the University of NSW, the University of Newcastle and Open Learning Global. Currently we have approximately 3000 students subscribed to the platform. Our aim is to grow this to approximately 35,000 within our first year.
DB: What’s been the response to the beta version?
Chun: The response so far to both the 1Scope vision and also the platform has been incredibly positive. From a platform perspective we are continuing to refine, rather than seeing a need for any major changes at this time. We’re also using this beta time to work with customers to determine an appropriate revenue model that we can put into place from launch.