As we gear up for this year’s Innovation Showcase, we’re taking a look at some of the startups that will be pitching and the creative solutions they’re providing to solve practical business problems.
One pitch from our June event came from Max Yoder, Founder and General Manager of Lesson.ly. Lesson.ly is a corporate education tool used primarily for employee and client onboarding. My own company, BizProps, actually just started using Lesson.ly and the tool is great. And if you spend 30 seconds talking to Max, you’ll instantly see his passion for helping educate others in this space.
Max and his team noticed a problem. Growing companies are spending too much time, money, and effort getting their primary stakeholders up to speed and keeping them there. As they started to research solutions, they found that there is a perception in the market that the current learning solutions are either too inefficient, too expensive, or both. Max found that most of those learning solutions were built in an offline world and had to be translated to an online world. Some solutions transitioned very well, but they tended to price small businesses out of their solution.
With that in mind, Max and his team came up with a simple premise: “If we can make it easy and affordable for companies to build, distribute, and measure the effectiveness of their learning materials, we can do something really special.”
With that, they built what they call “The simplest way for businesses to teach and learn.”
Lesson.ly is built to be simple to use. The product experience can be boiled down into three steps:
There is beauty in this simplicity. Lesson.ly’s goal was to do three things and do them very well. Everything is built to be intuitive. The authoring tool is so easy that, in Max’s words, “If you can type, you can teach.” You can easily assign lessons that are automatically distributed to learners and have report cards automatically sent back to you.
The results speak for themselves. In their first five months, Lesson.ly has acquired 2,000 learners across a multitude of clients. A big part of that success has to be credited to the simplicity that Max and his team embraced. When asked about what made his product different from other LMS services, Max responded, “We’re trying to build a really refined application. We don’t want to follow the example that the existing LMS space has set, with calendaring systems and a bunch of different features that users may or may not even think are important. The benefit of Lesson.ly is that we have a really refined application, we can offer a low price point, and we can scale to your needs. That’s something that I think is very important. I’m not about to go follow somebody else’s lead.”
That’s something that I think all entrepreneurs can learn from. Understand your product’s key value prop and pursue that ruthlessly. Breaking from the herd isn’t a bad thing; in the case of Lesson.ly, it’s a differentiator.
You’ll be able to learn more about Max, Lesson.ly, and 59 other innovative Indy startups at the 2013 Innovation Showcase. Click here to register and we’ll see you there!