First of all, how are you and your Family doing in these COVID-19 Times?
Felipe Ferreira: We’re all well and healthy, thank God. Taking care and following all isolation recommendations while waiting for this pandemic to end as soon as possible.
Tell us about you, your Career, how you Founded Proesc
Felipe Ferreira: In 2004, the mathematics teacher Lindomar Goes Ferreira, who ministered classes in the Amapá state, decided to think of a technological solution to standardize his activities, which were written in a paper class diary at the time. He programmed and created, on his own, an electronic class diary to organize information about classes and students.
The idea was so successful that other teachers started to ask for the same system. Lindomar developed a module that could be distributed to many other teachers and schools.
With the help of two partners, Felipe Ferreira and Elias José Teixeira, it was possible to create Proesc.com, a pedagogical management platform that can automatize not only teachers’ activities but also the rest of sectors in a school, like the secretary, director board, pedagogic sector, and others.
Proesc.com was developed in 2008 as a software specialized in academic and pedagogical management for teaching institutions.
With the passing of time, Proesc perfected and innovated its tools in education management and consolidated itself among public and private areas in the region.
In 2015, the team planned national expansion of the solution, which could be accessed online on the site www.proesc.com with a free version for smaller institutions.
Currently, Proesc.com is commercialized as an innovative and accessible business model to clients with several ports and characteristics. Over 2.500 education institutions utilize its technology in Brazil, Angola, and more than six other countries.
How does Proesc Innovate?
Felipe Ferreira: Proesc is one of the most innovative software in the educational market. Today, we are specialists in financial automation, automatic charge, the reduction of non-payment, and assisting schools in good financial health.
We work with the concept of constant innovation, utilizing agile methods to the evolution of all our areas and sectors. Our clients send suggestions to our knowledge base, and every 15 days, we make a full analysis of what solutions are being demanded by the market and then insert them into our sprint planning.
How the Coronavirus Pandemic affects your Business, and how are you coping?
Felipe Ferreira: The pandemic directly impacted the international market, and for security measures, the schools had to stop all in-person activities. Many of them weren’t prepared to deal with a situation like this, both in management and pedagogical areas.
The international market suffered a big shake. Many parents took their children out of private schools or demanded a discount on the monthly payment, especially schools that couldn’t adapt to the digital world.
At this very moment, Proesc started to create content for online classes, hybrid teaching, and digital management to help schools go through this hard period.
Among that, we also created innovations like E-class Module that allows the integration of students and teachers with online classes, activities, and materials; Automatic Charge Module that assists the monthly payments between school and parents or students, realizing the process over email, SMS, app and WhatsApp and helping the reduction of non-payment.
Did you have to make Difficult Choices, and what are the Lessons Learned?
Felipe Ferreira: During our trajectory, we had to make several tough choices. Among those, we recreated our product from scratch to a technology that allows a national and international scale and changed our business model and way of marketing.
We learned a lesson: that innovation requires a period where we put ourselves in an uncomfortable zone. Often, we need to let go of realities where we are already specialists to do something new and learn from square one, but after this learning process, the results become even greater than before.
How do you deal with Stress and Anxiety? How do you Project yourself and Proesc in the Future?
Felipe Ferreira: I try to focus on what’s possible to get done in the next 15 days, using the agile method of Scrum development. We have trimestral planning that utilizes OKR. The fact that we can advance in short planning periods helps to reduce a lot of anxiety for great achievements.
Even though we have audacious strategic planning for the next two years to transform Proesc.com into the most used school management software in the Brazilian market, our goals are divided into small sprints. That helps the team focus on making the best possible results in a short deadline.
Who are your Competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the Game?
Felipe Ferreira: We have a few competitors in the same business model as us, like W-Pensar, Sophia, and Sponte.
Our strategy to remain competitive in the market is to strengthen innovation in the points the educational market needs the most and deliver the best results and investment return in those areas. Currently, Proesc is a specialist in 3 key areas: financial management/reduction of non-payment, pedagogical management/online classes, the caption of students/CRM, and online school enrollment.
Your Final Thoughts
Felipe Ferreira: In all moments of crisis, there are opportunities that can be seized. We always try to keep ourselves calm to look at the problems we’re living through and see the solutions behind these problems.
That goes for all areas in the market. Moments of crises can be ideal for innovation and revolution of business models.
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