WeSchool: Italy’s leading EdTech company in educational innovation
WeSchool is an Ed-tech company that was born at the end of 2016. Their aim is to redesign teaching at schools, universities, and companies to make it more effective and engaging. During the Covid pandemic, when WeSchool was still very young, the awareness of their teaching model grew, and the company reached a community of over two million users. Now, post-Covid, the growth phase is in terms of turnover and head-count.
What is the value added that distinguishes WeSchool from its competitors?
Our value added is ‘Redesigning education’. It could mean a million things, but in our view, it implies a change of framework that is based on four specific pillars: what, who, how and when.
When we think of “what” we are teaching, we are comparing an old model to a new one. In the old model – which is still predominant today – online teaching means using a series of training materials and assessment methods via Web or App.
We believe this concept is rather boring. Our model is based on cooperative teaching, where browsing content makes up for only 30%-40% of the experience. The other part consists of research, discussion, and teamwork with other learners to solve problems, teach each other things, or put what you learned in previous classes into practice.
In short: at no point can learners turn their brain off, since they need to actively keep “doing”.
One very distinctive aspect of our model has to do with people: it’s the “who” pillar. In the old model, a class is made of one or more teachers and some students. In our model, there’s a teaching team made up of instructional designers, teaching assistants who help with tutoring and group work, community moderators who engage and manage day-by-day learning communities, and a creative team that consists of motion & graphic designers, copywriters and videomakers. This requires working in mixed teams, which might be more expensive, but the results are unbeatable when compared to the old model.
Let’s now move to the “how”: in the old model, when people are in a live class (in person), they
are in a group and usually don’t use any technology. On the other hand, when people are working remotely or e-learning, they are “alone,” but using technology. In WeSchool, we believe in an alternative: technology must be used both in person and remotely with a single goal, no matter the context: fostering interaction and collaboration. We offer a whole series of features to use technology in a useful way. Whether users are face-to-face or remote, they are always part of a community and won’t feel that they are working or studying by themselves.
Finally, “when”: In the old e-learning model, you can connect whenever you want and
take lessons whenever you want. However, a model with no common timetable and deadlines does not foster collaboration and participation, resulting in poor retention rates. Our approach, developed back in 2018 and which has increasingly been known as the “bootcamp” or “cohort based” model, is different: we work in “classes,” and there are deadlines to each social learning activity.
What is the technology behind WeSchool?
From a technological point of view, WeSchool is the opposite of an LMS: instead of a platform that delivers content with social features, WeSchool is a community management and collaboration platform with learning management and content delivery features. Social learning is not a frill: it’s the substance. That’s because WeSchool is a synthesis of two souls: a combination which makes us much different from other EdTech companies. Half of our team has a background in humanities – and they are the people working in teaching and instructional design – and the other half have a tech background.
How did WeSchool meet P101?
I have known Andrea Di Camillo for many years, since the Italian startup scene was as big as my grandmother’s living room. During the Covid years, we were lucky enough to get to choose who we wanted to let into our capital, and we chose P101 for their professionalism, as well as the “feeling” we had, which I believe is a very important factor in the VC-entrepreneur relationship. We collected €6.4 million in our “Series A” round, which was led by P101 and joined by TIM, CDP Ventures, Club Italia Investimenti and Club Digitale.
Further info about WeSchool
Since its first round, WeSchool has doubled its growth year after year, achieving a revenue of €700,000 in 2020, €1.8 million in 2021, and €3 million in 2022. Currently, WeSchool employs 68 people across Europe, mainly in Italy, Spain, and Greece. Their next focus is to increase international turnover in order to grow even faster.
What is WeSchool’s business model and who are its top customers?
WeSchool’s turnover is mostly generated in two ways: the first is selling the use of its platform, and the second is selling Educational Projects and our teaching model, both to companies and schools. Top customers are both small companies and large corporations, including Amazon, IKEA, Intesa Sanpaolo, JP Morgan, Luxottica, NIKE, Qualcomm, and Vodafone.
What are WeSchool future goals?
Conquer the world, always! And then, as my colleague Luca would say: ‘make it to Christmas in one piece’.