Mon, 16 March 2015
About: Christopher Prujisen Co-Founder of Sterio.me
Overview: Christopher is a driven, entrepreneur who is constantly reaching outside of his comfort zone to help on a global scale. Throughout this interview, he explains more about his company, Sterio.me, a company that he co-founded in 2013 and what he plans to do to help students all over the world.
Christopher's Background: Up until the age of 17, Christopher lived in the Netherlands where he attended public school, then attended Oxford University for about 2 years where he studied Philosophy and Economics. In his first year of college, Christopher went to China and taught English and was fascinated by the amount of learning and homework the students were given. He later returned to the UK and organized a very big entrepreneurship competition, and went on to become the President of the Oxford Entrepreneurs organization. Eventually, through different experiences, Christopher left Oxford to become an entrepreneur and started Sterio.me.
What is Sterio.me: (From their site) "Sterio.me is a technology that saves teachers time by automating the homework process from preparation, distribution and marking to administration, and improves access to relevant out of classroom learning reinforcement materials for learners. Sterio.me offers full reading, writing, listening and speaking pedagogy and is accessible via basic phone, and no internet is required."
How it Started: In 2013, Christopher and part of his team at the time went on StartupBus in Africa where they traveled for 5 days with other entrepreneurs (half African entrepreneurs, the other half Entrepreneurs all over the world) and through these 5 days they saw the need to develop technology driven solutions that would allow students that don't have access to out-of-school resources to continue to learn and complete homework assignments at home. It's been a long process to create the right model for the company, and by coming to Chile they have been able to find the right help to get them to where they are now.
Biggest Challenge for Sterio.me: Money is always a challenge, but through Christopher's experience he has learned that having a team is the most important factor to buoy each other up. So, finding the right engineers, project managers, local market expertise's, etc, is crucial to the success of their company.
Funding: Sterio.me started out bootstrapping, and then they were able to receive a grant from Chile. With the grant, there are some spending restrictions (you can't just outsource the way you want it to), but in general it's been very helpful for the company and for the local economy in Chile.
Future for Sterio.me: Starting next year, they will finish up the Android app for Sterio.me and really focus on driving it towards private schools in Chile, as well as certain wealthier markets in Africa. And then on the GSM solution side, they'd like to launch it in Madagascar. Overall, they really want to help the homework issue on a global scale, and possibly start some other side companies down the road to help.
Advice for Entrepreneurs: Decide what your goals are and what type of business you'd like to start. Determine what you're passionate about. When starting a company, don't limit yourself to your country, look internationally and possibly do a fellowship to see what's out there and what's needed. It's also a great idea to consider small markets, like Christopher has done in Chile.
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