The Pitch: Grade Boost
Every month, an entrepreneurial EUR student is put in the spotlights in ‘The Pitch’. The entrepreneur answers five personal questions related to entrepreneurship and gets thirty seconds – and only one take – for a video pitch. This edition, Ido Segev (28), IBEB student from Israel, presents his company Grade Boost.
Ido Segev (28) is the founding owner of Grade Boost, that offers supporting courses, ‘SOS’ sessions and course summaries for IBA and IBEB students. Before Grade Boost, Ido owned a platform called Book4Sale, where students could buy and sell second-hand study books. Creating revenue turned out to be difficult, but he noticed that selling course summaries worked really well. In the summer of 2013, Ido decided to close down the platform and change direction. During his holiday back in Israel, he spent half of his summer on the beach, the other half behind his laptop, working on his new company Grade Boost.
Grade Boost kicked off in September and has expanded to twenty freelance student-teachers, helping over 150 students work their way through their courses. It offers a range of different services such as private lessons, a class-based course, or intensive ‘SOS’ sessions right before exams. Class-based courses will cost you €120,- to €150,-, and are given in four sessions of two hours. For a private lesson, you pay €17,- per hour.
Why did you decide to get involved in education?
As an entrepreneur I realize that I use a lot of knowledge that I have gained in my studies. So basically, I believe education is very important to all of us. As a student I needed help myself, especially in my first year. I started my Bachelor here eight years after I graduated from high school, as I completed military service, did voluntary work and travelled, before going to university. I was never really good at mathematics and in my first year of IBEB I followed an extra course, which was expensive but was of low quality. So when I decided to found Grade Boost I knew that there was this gap in the market for affordable high quality courses, or for instance SOS sessions before exams.
What are your entrepreneurial qualities?
I think entrepreneurship is a combination of passion and things you learn over time. Passion is something you naturally have, it’s difficult to develop. Many of my friends have a much broader knowledge than I have, but they don’t have the passion to open their own business and will happily work for someone else, which of course has its benefits. I however feel this need to do something myself, to look for opportunities. Something you can learn over time is for instance to recognize customer needs that are not yet satisfied. It’s important to be aware of your environment as an entrepreneur, and people who are already in a business can show you how.
An often heard cliché is that you learn from your mistakes. What mistake have you learned the most from?
I think the most important thing is to not be afraid of failure. A lot of people walk around with great ideas, but are too worried about their reputation, or the possibility of failure, to actually go for their ideas. If you never fail, you don’t learn. Book4Sale wasn’t as good as Grade Boost, but it taught me a lot about students’ needs, and how I can adapt services to meet these needs.
Are you involved in Corporate Social Responsibility?
Yes, we’re working on a project to donate money to school children in Sri Lanka. Part of the revenue will go to a foundation named FutureCare, that allows us to ‘adopt’ a student. We contribute €50,- for each adopted student, enough to provide him or her with everything he or she needs for school, like clothes, books and a school bag. I always said to myself that when I have the money to do so, I’ll give to people who need it. And I think education is a really good cause, that also links to the company.
What are your future plans?
First, we want to expand our activities to other programmes, such as Bedrijfskunde (BA), Economie (Economics) and IBCoM. We’re also considering to internationalize the company, starting in Antwerp. It will become more difficult to retain control, but with the right people it’s possible. We’re also thinking of expanding to Delft, where most students follow mathematical and analytical programmes, like the ones we currently teach. Last, we plan to start teaching Mandarin in online sessions. As China becomes more important on a global scale, more people want to learn the language and we want to fulfil this need. IS