First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Rayvan Ho: My family and I are coping well with the new norm during this period, and we are learning and reflecting greatly during this difficult period. We have learnt to be more appreciative and supportive of each other.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded ACKTEC.
Rayvan Ho: I’m a seasoned entrepreneur in the education industry. Having served the Singapore Armed Forces, I have also set up and grown 2 startups successfully that have expanded regionally and armed with a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering (Hons) with a minor in Technopreneurship & Business from NUS. I have also completed an executive program at the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore. I established several schools in Singapore, Laos, and Indonesia, as well as forging partnerships with overseas schools. As a passionate educator and entrepreneur, I’m always seeking out to find out what the current pedagogy is and how technology can help to steepen the learning curve of any individuals.
In 2015, I started ACKTEC, an EduTech company whose mission is to develop in all their students the passion for learning, the confidence to become self-directed, and to micro-learn through technology. In August 2018, my company clinched 2nd runner-up in mobile learning during an event organized by the MOE SSG Institute of Adult Learning. In Nov 2018, I was invited as a speaker and panelist to EduTechX Global 2018 in Beijing to speak about “Harnessing AI to advance Education”. I am always seeking to contribute back towards education and business as such. I am also a key Advisor to several Education Institutions in Singapore, Laos & Jakarta, and a Committee Member of the Youth Business Affair Committee from the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI).
In 2019, I was invited to RISE Hong Kong to showcase my company’s EduTech platform to the global market and RISE Innovation Week in Thailand, where I was invited to give a keynote speech about Global Trends in EduTech. In Nov 2019, my company was nominated as the best mention company under the “Best EduTech Solutions” during the EduTech Asia Awards. I was recently invited to China (Beijing) for the Global Education Technology Summit as a Keynote Speaker for the event in Nov 2019. In 2020, ACKTEC has been nominated for various awards, Most Promising Innovation under SG Tech Trial Blazer Finalist, EduTech Category Award for Technode Origin 2020, Top 5 finalist for Seedstars in Singapore.
How does ACKTEC innovate?
Rayvan Ho: We need to keep reminding ourselves not to be complacent. This is because digitalization is a race of content. We believe that in order to scale, content with good accreditations and certifications with immersive ability will allow us to expand fastest and gain more market share.
We will focus on the content but not forgetting to improve the accessibility and automation on the platform. We will also be adding Artificial Intelligence to recommend courses and to track the learning analytics. We will also be adding in the Humanized chatbot to allow 24/7 delivery of the lesson, lastly bringing in proctoring tools such as facial recognition and signatures to prevent fraud.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Rayvan Ho: Yes, with Covid. The need for digitalization will be a norm for both asynchronous (online) lessons and blended (Self-directed and online). As such, the need for digitalization for immersive content will increase. During this covid-19 period, there is an increase in 30% of revenue during this period.
Our growth in 2019 is driven by the emergence of the digital lifestyle (learn, work, live) within the context of Industry 4.0 globally. Hence, users are already aware of on-demand learning and are attracted to our tethered-learning with immersive content on our platform.
During this transformational era of Covid-19, there has been a strong surge in demand. We strongly believe there is a permanent and strong shift towards a digital lifestyle globally, which is the new normal in a world of remote everything.
ACKTEC has established its strong reputation as a pioneer for immersive learning across Asia over the past 4 years. This has led to companies (overseas and local) reaching out to us constantly to help them solve their immediate pain points through digital learning using interactive contents and gamification to improve the user experience for a better learning outcome.
Importantly, a key aspect of our value proposition to the learner is that ACKTEC is making jobs a lot more accessible online thanks to our immersive learning platform, which facilitates skills upgrading, leading to higher-paying jobs in a new world of remote everything.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Rayvan Ho: Definitely, especially during our initial years where we are still starting up. During the cash flow tight period, we have to weigh between to continue, i.e., with the existing crews or removing some or quit altogether.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Rayvan Ho: I will go for a long walk and listening to my audiobooks at the same time to remove stress. If I am tired, I sleep over it and fight the next day.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Rayvan Ho: ACKTEC is building our ACKTEC studios, which helps convert contents into immersive contents through AR scan, our repository to automate the digitalization production.
We are continuing to grow our market place KQwest to cover more cities and countries, where we will also onboard more courses and learners so as to bring jobs for them across Asia.