In 2017 the classroom is going portable as the technology revolution embraces learning. We caught up with digital entrepreneur Neil Saada on how he is changing the classroom game.
School’s come a long way. As recently as the mid nineties, when this correspondent grappled with grades, tech in education amounted to propellor pencils and overhead projectors.
However, the technology revolution is a universal syllabus, and the education sector has not proven impervious its charms. Coding is now taught in primary school, blackboards are touchscreen walls, and iPads are just as likely to be on a desk as chewing gum stuck underneath.
But one thing hasn’t quite moved with the times; teachers. Their, well, old-school approach to learning has stayed firmly rooted in being in the room. Until now.
Three 20 year old tech whizzkids, Neil Saada, Mathias Pastor, and Milo Rignell have created for new way of school, college, and university students to stay one step ahead of their studies at all times with their new mobile app, Teech.
The app is designed for those students who either struggle to stay focussed in class, or who are finding they are falling behind. By putting thousands of highly qualified ‘teechers’ in the palm of their hand via latest video technology when they need it, the founders have changed the game for educationalists.
We caught up with one of the founders, Neil Saada, a serial entrepreneur who found fame when he used social media to get A-listers including Rhianna to wear his fashion label NasaSeason’s baseball caps to find out more.
E&I: Give us the Teech elevator pitch.
NS: Teech is a revolutionary app where students from GCSE all the way to university can ask study questions and get a nearly instant live video answer. Our ‘teechers’ are graduate student from the UK’s top universities (including Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, and many more) and our cutting-edge technology pairs these up with those seeking instant, but expert, help in their learning.
E&I: Who would most benefit from Teech?
NS: We cater for all kinds of students, but we’re ideal for those students who find they get in trouble, or lose focus in class, or who are slipping behind in their studies. It helps to provide an instant learning module to any education, so it will directly help grades, plus it helps those who want to know more on a subject than the syllabus dictates.
E&I: Where did the inspiration behind Teech come from?
NS: I was revising for my exams in my first year of university, when I realised it was really complicated to access live help for specific problems. The tutoring market is very slow, extremely fragmented, and works mainly on word to mouth, so if you do find someone who knows what you need to then you’ve no idea if they can provide the right kind of advice! At the other end of the scale, the internet is fast, but not precise enough, and doesn’t add that personal experience touch a teacher would have. With Teech, the time to get a precise answer has gone from days to seconds.
E&I: How did you first attract investment into Teech?
NS: People say that securing great investors and investment is difficult. However, in my experience it’s about speaking to the right people with the right offerings. For Teech we looked at the most experienced people we knew within the industry and pitched to them. They are three Angels with ties to the best schools in France, and the most prestigious universities in the world. They’ve given us a great support from the start, and are key members of the team.
E&I: What do you think is the future of education and technology?
NS: It is interesting to see that education is still seen as the next big thing in venture capitalist research list. We have known that for years but still change is slow due to the complicated administrations managing the schools.
Moreover there is still a stigma associated to selling solutions to school. We believe than when those walls come down, the education system will finally benefit from the great advancement in technologies such as VR or AI. Technology will bring equality to students by making affordable quality teaching to all and we hope to be part of this revolution.
E&I: What was your first business venture?
NS: I used to buy broken blackberry’s on Ebay, refurbish them by buying cheap spare parts and sell them for a profits to used phone stores around my school!
E&I: Why is it so often young entrepreneurs who are disrupting industries with tech?
NS: Tech is one of the rare industries where the youth is being listened to, and where investors or potential clients know that your youth might hold the solution to the next big thing. People like Gates, Jobs or Zuckerberg have perpetuated this idea that young people are successful in tech so it makes it easy to sell yourself based on those success stories. It is also one of the rare industries where skills can be more important than industry experience.
E&I: You’re originally from Paris. Do you still feel London has an important part to play in global tech post-Brexit?
NS: As of today Brexit is a bit of a mystery for us all, but the largest tech hubs and funds are still in London, making it a very attractive city. Moreover, with its International culture and openness in spirit it has a certain character and dynamism that is rare in European cities.
However, Paris and Berlin have recently made a lot of moves toward startups and entrepreneurs making the choice to London is a lot less obvious than what it used to be.
E&I: You’ve been called one of the most innovative young entrepreneurs in the UK. How do you feel when you read things like this about yourself?
NS: I think that It is honestly quite funny and crazy to think of! The last two years of my life have been extraordinary thanks to my co-founders Mathias, Milo and Victor and all of it has been team work. What I believe at the end is that it all comes down to the will; the will of doing more, of wanting more at life.
E&I: What’s next for you?
NS: Keep on building Teech and working on my other side projects such as my fashion company, Nasaseasons, and Lawrence Parker, my advertising consultancy. There is still a lot to be done in this world!
Find out more about Teech at teech.com