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1Mby1M Incubation Radar 2013: Omninox, Gainesville, Florida

Posted on Wednesday, Dec 18th 2013

Omninox develops interactive, mobile study guides called Omniguides™ for high level math and science courses. It aims to consolidate the material that students learn for Advanced Placement (AP) STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) classes by offering built-in software tools such as a calculator, quizzes, and sketchpad with social sharing.

Founded in 2012, Onmnivox started out as a summer project among three environmental engineering students, Drew Vincent, Jake Yap, and Yatit Thakker at the University of Florida. They were playing around with the iBooks platform when they realized that larger publishers were still using it to republish their textbooks without much interactivity and engagement, while the platform had the power to be so much more. CEO Yatit Thakker had always been fascinated by science. He had taken many advanced STEM classes and also had tutoring experience but was disappointed with the tools used for teaching science. Inspired by the potential of the iBooks platform, he, along with Vincent and Yap, founded Omninox. That summer they created Omniguides from scratch, with interactivity built into the very core of the product.

Over the next year, more competitors, both small and large, such as SchoolYourself, Houghton Mifflin, and OpenStax, started to use the iBooks platform to publish more interactive books. However, Omninox already had the first mover advantage, and its Omniguide for Calculus 1 was the top listed Calculus 1 guide on the iBookstore.

Each AP Omniguide is sold as an integrated software package for $15. The company released its first commercial product in the summer of 2013 and is already in the revenue stage, but is not yet profitable. It has had more than 200 paid downloads across the world, with 120 of these in the past six months.

The end users for Omniguides are high school students. Omninox reaches out to them through the recommendations of either the AP high school teacher or the school. Its first institutional customer was a private school that purchased 50 copies for its students.

Omninox plans to develop new products for the AP test prep market and acquire customers via email marketing and telesales to teachers across the country. The greatest success that Omninox had was with SEO applied to the iBookstore. Becoming a part of the store’s “textbooks” section was a huge challenge that required jumping through hoops, but doing so exposed Omnivox directly to its market segment. As a result, a private school in California chose to make the Calculus Omniguide a requirement for all its students.

Priced at $15 per Omniguide and targeting the AP market, with its projected 2014 course offering where approximately 600,000 students take either physics, calculus or statistics, and assuming a third of them have an iPad in their household, the 2014 TAM (total available market) will be approximately $3 million per year.

Once it has a strong base of content as well as customers, the company plans to expand Omniguides to a web-based platform that will encompass a more general preparatory course for a subscription fee of $10 a month. This will provide a more continuous revenue stream, as well as increase the lifetime value of each customer, while providing better content. The TAM is then projected to increase to $54 million for the same coursework, excluding summer holidays.

The company could also look into online tutoring for AP STEM courses as an additional revenue stream. That would increase the TAM by several orders of magnitude.

Omninox is bootstrapped, with most of the funding coming from founders’ savings accounts and part-time jobs, and some pre-seed investments from their families. In the near future, the company will mostly focus on revenue, not external financing. For now, exit is not the concern.

This segment is a part in the series : 1Mby1M Incubation Radar 2013

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