We talked to Juraj Svincak CEO at Meet’n’learn about the economics of knowledge sharing during the pandemic and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Juraj Svincak: I have to admit we have never been busier. It seems to me that we are living in “fast forward” mode. Both the family and the team are doing good so far. Luckily we all adapted to the “new normal”, but we can not wait to hear COVID is over.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Meet’ n’ learn.
Juraj Svincak: I was always impressed by successful entrepreneurs and great marketing strategies. After my graduation in 2012, I realized that there is a missing service on how to find a good and reliable tutor. I met my co-founder Tomas Palkovic when I saw his pitch at a startup event. Tomas was working on his own marketplace project and I thought it might be a good and easy way to launch a new vertical. At first impression, he was not as excited as I was, but he agreed to create the MVP. For the 2 years, it was just a hobby project for us. We both had regular jobs.
One of the biggest changes in the company history was switching to full time. We had been part of the Wayra Munich acceleration program in 2014/2015. (venture arm of Telefonica). This gave us the time and runway to develop the product and business model. meet´n´learn now has about 40 000 registered tutors in 10 EU countries and belongs to leaders in the CEE region in the tutoring business.
How does meet’ n’ learn innovate?
Juraj Svincak: meet´n´learn can be described as the “online office” for tutoring. The old fashion way is that tutors are using multiple channels for student management, scheduling, payments, video calls. Thanks to meet´n´learn it is easy to manage every aspect of tutoring from one place.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Juraj Svincak: School systems around the world are one of the most affected segments by COVID restrictions. We were observing the spread of COVID closely from the beginning of January 2020. We never thought that it might affect our lives in such a profound way. We saw a significant drop in traffic in the first days and we took appropriate actions. We realized that offline tutoring transformed to online so we introduced integrated video chat and video rooms for the users. COVID accelerated the adoption rate of the users, normally it would take several years. Nowadays the students are willing to take online classes of math, languages, arts, dance or even music instruments.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Juraj Svincak: We experienced quite the opposite. Before we had issues attracting talent for the development team. In the last few months, we have started working with 4 new team members. EdTech became more “sexy” for employees and most probably due to issues of other businesses there is more available talent on the market than it was before.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Juraj Svincak: We have developed internal CRM and use regular ticketing tools for the management of customer requests. Meet´n´learn is built mostly as a self-service application.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Juraj Svincak: We did not qualify for any kind of support or grant since our business is growing which we’re very happy about. On the other hand, we do support the voice of affected businesses, they really need bigger support from governments.