Please provide a brief overview of your company, the service you provide/product you make, and the main audience you serve.
Founded in 1987 by a team dedicated to improving the quality of language education, DynEd’s blended approach combines the best of both teachers and technology. I joined the company in 1996 and was eager to drive the overall strategy and direction for DynEd. The company is built around a brain-based learning theory that is a breakthrough in English language learning.
With over 9 million active users, DynEd courses are designed to be used in a blended learning environment, along with teachers and classroom support. Now, after more than 30 years of results, we have the world’s most comprehensive lineup of award-winning, technology-based, English language teaching (ELT/ESL) solutions and in 2017, created NexGen English Online Co, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DynEd operating independently.
- Did you ever explore VC or other equity funding? If so, explain why you did not move forward with that option?
We were in the process of reinventing ourselves for the rapid shift to mobile and had been searching the market for different funding opportunities. Since most of our revenues are from outside the U.S., that can somewhat limit us when it comes to finding the right funding solution for our business model. We decided against venture capital and other equity options because we wanted to maximize our valuation after our development. Revenue-based financing allows us to capitalize on our existing revenues while pursuing new business opportunities.
- What were your original goals with the funding from Decathlon Capital?
We were making the complex transition from desktop solutions to mobile solutions to provide our customers with new and dynamic technologies. Decathlon Capital provided us with the funding needed to pivot our current EdTech relationships and release a new mobile platform. There is always a need to keep pace with the constantly evolving marketplace. A comprehensive English speaking education on mobile using AI providing guaranteed outcomes, aligned to international standards, is unheard of in the industry. In Asia, an individual who speaks English can potentially double or triple their income over their lifetime. We are in the business of changing people’s lives; with pervasive phones we can now reach the whole world.
- Are there any growth numbers you can share as of now (how much you’ve grown since capital infusion, data/numbers)?
We have captured individual mobile users through partnerships in China. Without this capital infusion, that wouldn’t have been possible. China is a very mobile market, so we expect tremendous growth on the B2B side, as well. In November 2018, we released the B2B solution at a global technology conference in Beijing, and now there are more than ten million lessons completed with over 61,000 users. With funding from Decathlon, we’ve been able to offer our B2B partners strong competitive products. It has also allowed us to launch with a new distribution partner in India just two months ago. Shine.com is the #2 online job site in India and is part of the Hindustan Times Media Group Limited.
- In what ways did the funding from Decathlon Capital catalyze your business growth?
Decathlon Capital almost sounded too good to be true when we were doing initial research. We completed a background check on them, and everything came back exactly as they said. Since our partnership began, they have lived up to every expectation we had. It has helped us to create a start-up in 2017 called Nexgen English Online Co. Decathlon helped us go from an idea to a full-fledged mobile platform by funding the development we had underway. We are now equipped with a new mobile engineering team, systems, and an abundance of market research. Mobile, AI and guaranteed outcomes for learners is the future, and Decathlon Capital helped us pave the way into a new platform. Next, we plan to fund our start-up and we will likely keep the funding from Decathlon going.
- If you could tell business leaders/companies seeking funding one thing about revenue-based financing, what would it be?
Revenue-based financing is a good option if you are a company that wants to reinvent yourself, and/or you already have a revenue stream. You should have a clear idea of how your revenue flows in order to meet the obligations of the agreement. Know your business well and choose wisely—I would recommend Decathlon Capital any day.