Japanese startup wants to set the standard for online learning

Japanese startup wants to set the standard for online learning

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From the left: Koroku, Mori, Nakanishi
From the left: Koroku, Mori, Nakanishi

See the original article in Japanese

On October 28th, my Twitter and Facebook streams suddenly got really busy. The culprit turned out to be a couple of lectures from Schoo, the Japan-based online school startup. Its mission is to build a society where people will always keep learning [1]. Based on this mission, they provide real-time online lectures on their website.

The two lectures broadcasted on that particular evening were:

  • “How trippiece raised 200 million yen” by Fumiaki Koizumi, director of trippiece
  • “The history and the structure of venture capital that startup entrepreneurs must know” by Taiga Matsuyama, East Ventures

These two lectures were a sort of follow-up of a previous lecture, “The basics of venture financing, how to raise 100 million yen”, broadcasted on Oct 17th by Satoshi Maruyama, of Venture United. If you watch these 3 lectures together, you can learn a lot about the history of venture financing, the structure and the idea of investment and venture capital.

schoo

Both during and after the broadcast, I saw many social posts saying how fun or interesting it was.

Schoo provides content not only on finance, but also on other startup-related subjects such as team management and how to make a business plan.

I went to Schoo’s office to learn more about what’s going on with the startup. I spoke with Kenshiro Mori, the representative director of Schoo; Takayuki Nakanishi, the director responsible for content department; and Takuya Koroku, editor and content director.

Mori explained to me why they started creating content focused on venture financing, saying that his experience was his biggest motivation.

Mori raised 152 million yen from Itochu Technology Ventures, IncubateFund and ANRI in July, 2013. Back then, there were too many things beyond his comprehension. Today funds flow faster, and dynamic changes will occur when more entrepreneurs raise funding amounts of more than 100 million yen. On the other hand, there are pitfalls when raising so much money. Thinking back on his own experience, he believed communicating advice for entrepreneurs about fundraising would be helpful.

Content design based on a framework

Currently there are two subjects on schoo: startups and web design. Mori adds:

When we planned courses on these two subjects, the first thing we did was to set a solid goal. We design content based on practical goals, which reflect what the users will be able to do after they finish the course. When we designed the course for the ‘startups’ section, we set a framework. The framework was that users currently preparing to startup will be able to raise enough to end series A. Based on the framework, we created our content.

They first focused on users and where they could achieve, and then they developed the content with lecturers. With the web design course, they created content with the aim of helping total beginners be able to work as freelance web designers.

They also offer lectures focused on more practical matters in startup management. Another lecture, “How to build a great startup team”, will be presented by Yozo Kaneko, the COO of United .

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Nakanishi: In many cases, after entrepreneurs raise more than 100 million yen, but the existing company structure fails to work and breaks down.

Mori: We failed that way…

Nakanishi: We present this kind of real case to participants and move on to discussion.

They create content based on their experiences. And that’s why the lectures are not abstract, but rather more practical.

Stay tuned for the second part of this interview, coming soon!


  1. The original Japanese reads something like ‘to rid graduations from society’, so we’re taking some liberties here in order to better communicate the meaning.  ↩