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Building a $10M Company Proctoring Exams Online: Don Kassner, CEO of ProctorU (Part 7)

Posted on Monday, Feb 24th 2014

Don Kassner: It remains to be seen if it’s going to break out the way that it used to break out. For us, we’ve been very happy with the success that we’ve had in growing this from nothing to a $10 million a year company. You were talking about getting entrepreneurs to that first million which is a real demarcation for success. We’ve passed that. Now, where do we go from here? Are we going to be a $100 million company or a $1 billion company? I have no way of knowing yet, but right now, the company’s growing. The market seems to be growing.

Sramana Mitra: You’re growing at a decent pace. It’s not like you’re growing anemically.

Don Kassner: Very nice growth path. Our internal forecasts are very bullish. We’re very optimistic about the future. This could grow to be something very large.

Sramana Mitra: Do you do any international business? Are you seeing any international adoption of this kind of proctoring?

Don Kassner: There are two ways of looking at that. The first is international proctoring. We’ve worked with students in 74 countries in December. We’ve test takers all over the world. In terms of clients, we’re starting to work a lot in Western Europe. We’ve some clients within the U.K., France, Spain, and Australia. This seems to be starting to expand internationally especially within Europe and Australia.

Sramana Mitra: These students in 74 countries that you’ve proctored so far, those are U.S. universities students who are taking their exams from home?

Don Kassner: Yes, at home or maybe they’re in the military or traveling. Some of the certifications that we work on are global certifications. The whole point is enabling distance education and remote testing. You, truly, can do it from anywhere as long as you got the high speed internet connection and a webcam. When I take a look at the countries, it’s amazing to see some of the countries in Africa and Southeast Asia that were proctoring people. That’s pretty prevalent globally. There are some spots in the world that don’t have the Internet bandwidth.

Sramana Mitra: There’s definitely a missing piece in the online education puzzle. If this puzzle piece can be put in place, the online education model is going to ramp faster. That’s what you’re seeing in the universities that are adopting your model so far. What about financial history of the company? You’re already at $10 million a year. What has it taken, financially, to get there? Besides the investments that you got early on from the shareholders of the Andrew Jackson University, have you raised more capital?

Don Kassner: No, we raised about $800,000 in our initial phase with Andrew Jackson. Since that time, we’ve run the company profitably. We’ve been growing the company through profitability.

Sramana Mitra: Great. You raised $800,000 in 2009?

Don Kassner: 2010.

Sramana Mitra: It’s taken you about four years to get to $10 million?

Don Kassner: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: And you’re headquartered in Alabama?

Don Kassner: I’m in the North California office. From a technical standpoint, we got started in Alabama so that would probably be our headquarters.

Sramana Mitra: Very nice story. It’s definitely an interesting progress in the online education space. Thank you very much. Nice talking to you.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Building a $10M Company Proctoring Exams Online: Don Kassner, CEO of ProctorU
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