In a series of blog posts under the theme “Movers and Shakers”, we will be sharing the success stories and milestones of our members. Read on to find out more about the companies that are transforming industries through constant innovation.
Persistent innovation and digital disruption are now the norms, rather than the exception in business and society. Yet, 44% of adults in the EU lack basic digital skills, whereas Bulgaria ranks 28th out of 28 EU Member States in terms of aspects like the use of digital technology.
This is detrimental to businesses as they suffer from a severe lack of employees with up-to-date technical skills. Companies like Coursedot focus on this issue and aim to solve the problem by making IT trainings more accessible. Today we meet the company's co-founder and CEO Teodor Panayotov who tells us about Coursedot's mission and arduous journey to success.
Solving real problems
At the age of 20, Teodor became one of the youngest professionals worldwide to obtain a CCIE – the highest Cisco certification level. Since then, he has gained extensive experience leading technical training courses in various companies, as well as working at one of the largest IT training firms – Fast Lane.
As Teodor was progressing his career he identified some major gaps in the sector.
“We had limited availability of trainers, who could lead the diverse technological training sessions. Usually, the technical training of the staff is both intensive and costly. The limited number of trainers hindered our performance – we were literally leaving money on the table.”
Another problem he observed was that it was hard to meet the specific needs of the clients in terms of trainers' portfolio. Some clients preferred specific teaching methods, whereas others demanded onsite or online education with real-time interaction between students and teachers.
So, he decided to start solving these issues. “I quit my well-paid job to launch my own company. My wife and family were terrified as our second child had just been born, “ Teodor shares. His first business was called IT Instructor which then developed into Coursedot. He adds that at the time they were bootstrapping for two years.
“It's another way to say that I spent all my money on the project before we received any outside funding.”
In April 2015, Coursedot was officially incorporated. It received its first €100,000 investment from Eleven Ventures later that year.
The key point of differentiation
Coursedot started by creating an online marketplace gathering over 70 000 IT trainings and workshops from its over 400 training provider partners. It also continued to build connections with top certified IT instructors over the globe.
As Coursedot grew, the market started to change and develop different needs. So, the company went from a standard trainer's broker to matching trainers with training companies.
The investments played a key role in the pivot of the business. “Thanks to this support we shifted from a service-based company to a product-based business,” as Teodor comments.
Now Coursedot manages to differentiate from the competition with its unique product – the Instructor Hub. The platform has over 3,000 registered freelance trainers from more than 90 countries.
“This allows us to gain substantial information about the trainers, contact them with the right clients, and help them to deliver customized services and trainings to clients.”
The Campus X difference
When asked why Coursedot joined the Campus X ecosystem, Teodor replies:
“It's dead simple – because Vassil, Svetozar, Boyko, and Eleven are here. There's no shortage of coworking spaces in Sofia. But for me, the key moment is the proximity to leading mentors, and the opportunity to receive timely, meaningful, and down-to-earth advice.”
“And yes – being part of the ecosystem feels great – it`s vibrant and alive – and the coffee is free.”
What's next for Coursedot?
The company foresees raising another financial round in the upcoming six months. Further, they plan to grow the number of trainers and expand on key markets like the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, the DACH countries (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), the UK and the USA.
“The question is to pick the right moment. We're growing, we're seeing what we need to do, and we need to do it fast,” concludes Teodor.