My most recent Forbes column challenged entrepreneurs to develop technologies to enable the delivery of educational materials to all learners, even those whose only platform is an inexpensive handset. Today’s Deal Radar post looks at technology in education from another angle: in communities where the use of rich media for learning purposes has already gained critical mass, how can entrepreneurs help educators and learners tap its full potential by offering infrastructure solutions? One company tackling this question is Orlando-based Neulio, an educational video platform and hosting provider.
Founded in 2007 by George Colombo, a noted customer relationship management (CRM) expert, Neulio came into being when Colombo was asked to research options for a platform to host continuing education content by a client. When Colombo couldn’t find anything, he decided to build the platform to cater to this market segment. The company was originally a joint venture between Colombo and Rick Parks, a seasoned software entrepreneur, but Colombo bought Parks’ interest in the company in September 2007.
As online media continues to assume greater importance in e-learning for business and educational institutions, it is crucial that content be easy to create, upload, find, organize and use. Platforms such as YouTube have made uploading, sharing and controlling access to video content a straightforward process. Neulio’s platform aims to go a step further from a pedagogical perspective, make it easier to deploy social media and user-generated content for training and learning by organizing online video, PowerPoint and audio content into volumes and chapters which can be accessed from any browser. Neulio’s volumes/chapters/gates structure is unique and has been developed to make segmenting, searching for and finding information easier. Modules such as quizzes have been designed to help ensure learners are absorbing content. Further, the platform has features such as sharing, rating, tagging and commenting.
The company’s original business model was a free, open-to-the-public web site where users could publish multi-part, multimedia content, with the subscription model as an upgrade to the free version. Neulio later changed its strategy and positioned itself as a business solution. It charges a subscription fee for the use of the service, along with a relatively nominal charge for metered storage and bandwidth.
There are three levels of service, with a focus on small to medium business customers and departmental solutions. The Bronze level provides straightforward social media publishing and is priced at $49 per month. The Silver level lets customers charge users for content and is priced at $149 per month. Finally, the Gold level of service provides advanced reporting for those who want to use Neulio for compliance training and is priced at $249 per month.
The company got early traction through its affiliation with the University of Central Florida’s incubation program, which Neulio says helped get valuable feedback on the platform as well as some early customers. Today, its customers include Seminole Community College and Daytona State College in Florida. The company did not provide any revenue information and said it is at too early a stage to provide profitability and growth numbers.
Neulio has remained privately funded up to now. The company is currently looking for angel investors but given the economic downturn, refrained from providing a time frame. Apart from investment, the company is also looking to complete its management team. Neulio acknowledged that the team building is dependent on the angel investment.
My sense is that they need to continue bootstrapping for a long time yet, and in the long run, they will emerge stronger by operating in that mode. Now is not a good time to raise money, and it seems like they have been successful with bootstrapping so far.
This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2008