If you traveled the Riviera Maya during your last vacation, you may have mistaken Felix Oswald for hundreds of tourists in his thirties in Tulum.
This man is, after all, a human being who likes to watch many of the Netflix series, such as German Kitz—a drama that deals with the upper class of that nationality—that he ate during his stay in the national Caribbean.
But he’s not just any character. He has just received 300 million euros for GoStudent, which he founded in 2016, and a good portion of that money should fuel his business in Mexico. But why here? First you have to explain money.
As a solution to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, European governments and the US Federal Reserve bombarded their economies with money.
Much of this went into the accounts of large investment groups. Now pressured to increase the size of that capital, they bet on where they could turn things around more dramatically and therefore obtain funding.
One of the most active is Japanese SoftBank, through its Vision Fund 2. The latter is one of the company’s new partners that offers personalized online classes to primary and secondary school children.
Others that complement GoStudent’s most recent contributions are Tencent, Dragoneer, Left Lane Capital and Coatue.
I asked Oswald about this feeling of receiving 300 million euros. It seems like?
“A huge responsibility for the investors, for the employees, for the teachers. It’s honestly a challenge. How do you spend it properly? You have to prioritize and it is a big responsibility”, said the young businessman.
Then there is the matter of getting into the field. Gostudent is already worth 3 billion euros (70 billion pesos) and has yet to “eat” the European market where it comes from. Nor is it going to Asia, where economies are growing faster and can earn more. What is the reason for coming to this continent?
An important part is in terms of educational quality, Oswald explained to me.
In Scandinavian countries, teachers must be highly qualified to get positions, so their standards are high, they earn well and parents do not look outside schools to prepare their children. Something similar happens in countries like South Korea, where the training system is efficient.
There are exceptions in Latin America, such as the Crera region in Brazil, the GoStudent founder explained. There teachers get additional bonuses and training when their students perform well. Its success led to a legislative reform to strengthen the New Fundamental Fund for Educational Development (Fundab in Portuguese) and to increase its resources from the equivalent of $350 million in 2021 to $786 million in 2026, the World Bank warned. .
But in countries like Mexico, the prevailing interest of parents is to supplement the education their children receive, or in some cases, replace it entirely through “homeschooling”.
GoStudent promises to help children master general subjects, but also specific subjects, such as math or English, and a new generation of knowledge, such as programming.
It charges around 300 pesos per hour, so unlike Europe – where its customers are relatively low-income – its market in Mexico is medium- or upper-middle-income.
Its artificial intelligence system identifies the best teacher for each student from a portfolio of 15,000. In Mexico they hire people who can pass three tests: academic, knowledge and second their legal context.
Carlos, one of the people hired, is an engineer with a master’s degree in neuroscience and psychology who offers classes on the platform. For six months he works when he decides, 30 hours a week, and earns about 20 thousand pesos a month. He says that he is happy.
At the rate they’re going, says Oswald, they should reach equilibrium in the business within a maximum period of one year. It depends on choosing a lot of people like Carlos.