Would you be up for leaving a well-paid job to help the education system save money? What if it's your own child’s school where you could save a job or two?
Stephen O’Leary, a former Groupon employee in the UK, has over last few months brought together a team who helped launch Groupon in England and introduced product offers on the platform globally, attracting them with the opportunity to help their children's schools and possibly growing a global success story.
“They have taken a more than 50 percent pay-cut,” O’Leary said, but as part of the deal they can focus on fixing their own kids schools first. And that’s the attractive part.
Edutise aims to bring some of the key logic of the Groupon world, where joint purchasing gives savings, into the education system — when local businesses do their stationary purchases through Edutise they get a better price and 50 percent of the cut goes to the school they have picked.
"The main thing I learned from Groupon: single price deals are great for consumers, but it's not very good for suppliers,” O’Leary said. The suppliers will need to take the risk of selling at the offered price, but if volume is much lower than in calculations, they could easily be losing money. To make Edutise attractive for suppliers they have to overcome this challenge. “We give suppliers 5 prices based on localised volume around the school. They can work their margins correctly so that they can supply on time, make money, but also give a fantastic price for businesses,” O’Leary said.
In the UK alone the opportunity is massive even when limited like this - the country’s 5.2 million small firms spend on average 6,400 pounds a year on stationary - if all that would go through Edutise Stephen says it, would enable hiring 50,000 extra teachers or keeping them working when governments are due to make significant cuts on spending per student.
O’Leary took the startup through Startup Wise Guys accelerator in the spring of 2015 and has brought into the founding team old colleagues like Paul Cartwright, who introduced product offers to the Groupon world.
Now at Edutise, the team works on enabling local businesses to fund education, bypassing government and politics.
“We have seen, also from the latest refugee crises, that governments are not very good at acting fast,” O’Leary said.
"Due to the fact that the UK credit card was maxed out, the government has been forced to make significant changes and the next parliament will need to continue on this path, which will be increasingly difficult. At some point efficiency savings will only get you so far before you need to start cutting teachers jobs,” O’Leary said.
And of course like with any startups, their own country is just the beginning. It's where Edutise aims to prove the model and then challenge the world. “No matter what part of the world you are in, education is the key to the future. Funding for education is sadly lacking, especially in some massive areas of the world, such as India and the US,” he said.