60 second start-up: BrainPOP UK

0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence

BrainPOP UK sells the most engaging digital educational resources ever made for kids aged 7+.

5-10 seconds: What's the business model?

We created a special Swine Flu video starring and released on YouTube. It's had nearly 10,000 views since May.

Schools or parents buy a subscription to access our movies and interactive quizzes starring Tim and his best friend, Moby the Robot.

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?

We work in an extremely competitive market, with powerful incumbents and very savvy and eclectic customers. Lucky for us, the majority of our competitors are still trying to figure out how to replicate their old offline thinking online. Nimble and dedicated web companies like us will continue to steal educators' attention while they're still trying to figure that out.

15-20 seconds: What's your USP?

If a textbook is at one end of the engagement spectrum, we're at the other. The movies are short, witty and pedagogically sound. A big orange robot from outer space generally catches kid's attention pretty well - and that's half the battle.

20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?

We're a new start up UK version of our big brother, BrainPOP US, who have been extremely successful. They provide the manna and we try to spend it wisely. They graciously allow us to decide our own journey.

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?

I was the online community manager at Pearson Education. But I yearned to be involved in doing remarkable things which is desperately difficult in big organisations so I came here instead. In an industry dominated by a handful of big players there's little opportunity to disrupt unless you work outside them. BrainPOP has a wonderful culture that encourages taking a chance.

30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?

The original idea came from our founder, Dr Kadar, an immunologist and paediatrician. Part of his job was to describe symptoms and treatments to sick kids in his care. Working with a talented animator they concocted Moby to do it for him and it snowballed from there. That was 10 years ago. The original Moby sketch still sits proudly on his New York office wall.

35-40 seconds: What's the smartest thing you've done so far?

We created a special Swine Flu video starring Tim and Moby and released it free of charge via our YouTube channel. As a new company it was a remarkable way of getting our brand and characters in front of people, while doing something to help kids understand the issue. To date the YouTube movie has had nearly 10,000 views since May.

40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?

Oh man, when you work for a start-up you really should be making as many mistakes as you can while you have the chance to learn. The most embarrassing was over-ordering the free pens for a trade show we were displaying at. We wanted 1000, but someone (ahem) must have added a zero. The delivery guy had to make three trips with a sack truck. We could just about peep over the top of the boxes which piled up.

On the up-side, I always have a pen.

45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?

Can we be a cupcake? With orange icing, silver balls and hundreds and thousands?

50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?

I am very jealous of any students that used Guitar Hero as their learning resource in Ollie Bray's famous Guitar Hero transition project or Nintendo DS games. Kids get to use some incredibly fun technology in the classroom these days. Sigh.

55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?

Twittering that every school in the UK now uses BrainPOP. Assuming Twitter is still around in 12 months' time, of course...

In association with

NatwestclearActual

If you're interested in a start-up business bank account, contact NatWest to realise your ambitions.

We use cookies to create the most secure and effective website possible for our customers. Full details can be found here