[THE INVESTOR] Studying is an arduous process for many, which requires long hours and determination. Often times, it is quite expensive too.
Madrid-based online educational firm Tutellus is on a mission to disrupt that. On its blockchain-based education platform, students get paid for studying, teachers earn extra income, while partnering companies can find future employees with proven skills.
The five-year-old startup is already the largest online educational platform in the Spanish-speaking world, offering more than 130,000 courses for 1.2 million users in 160 countries.
Miguel Caballero, founder and CEO at Tutellus, speaks at the Korea Blockchain Week event, in Seoul.
Its goal is to become a platform that can truly transform the education industry worldwide. To do so, it chose Korea as the next destination, citing the society’s high level of education, coupled with heated interest in cryptocurrencies.
“Korea is a very interesting country. The education industry is one of the best in the world,” Tutellus founder and CEO Miguel Caballero told The Investor in a recent interview in Seoul. “We can learn a lot of things from the industry here, and at the same time, we can offer value propositions for local society to improve life and behavior. In the cryptocurrency perspective, Korea is one of the most developed countries in the world.”
In order to tap the local market, the firm is setting up a Korean team in September, the first overseas operation outside Spain. The local operation is led by Ryu Mi-sang, with plans to expand to a team of 10 by the year-end. The firm is working on partnering with local universities and educational institutions here to kick off services as soon as possible.
Caballero is confident the Tutellus platform will change the education industry forever. It will break the age-old student-teacher relationship, give motivation and financial incentives to both sides, and most importantly, it will improve lives of many through education.
Blockchain is essential to make this possible, he emphasized.
Miguel Caballero speaks during an interview with The Investor.
“For us, blockchain is a tool to solve the main painful issues of the education industry,” he said. “We are trying to change the industry through a reward system that incentivizes users and makes the community much more proactive and bigger. We can do it with this decentralized model.”
Tutellus, which runs on the NEM blockchain, rewards students and teachers through two types of tokens. TUT token is used as a key currency on the platform, for students to take courses and teachers to get paid. TUT can be exchanged into fiat currencies and other cryptocurrencies. The internal STUT token, which is only circulated on the platform, is earned when users actively participate in courses, such as ask questions, help other students, rate the course, submit homework and pass exams, while teachers are rewarded for their achievements.
A higher volume of STUT means the student is relevant in the community. The user can choose to exchange the STUTs for TUTs to monetize their good performance in the network and change it to fiat currency. Companies can hire best students with more number of STUTs, as their new employees.
With more than 130,000 proactive courses, there are classes on how to cook, dance, sing, as well as on video games.
In the past, Tutellus raised investments of US$2 million. Now it is conducting an initial coin offering with plans to raise US$20 million, in a bid to grow exponentially.
“The reason for our ICO is to enable us to reach 100 million people as soon as possible with the new business model,” he said. “We are growing, but we can make it faster with the ICO and reach more people globally.”
Half of the ICO amount will be dedicated for scholarships, he said. “We want to let people study free through the scholarships. We want to help people overcome poverty through better education.”
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)